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Reading Program Helps Siblings Overcome Troubled Start in Life

When Savannah and Isaiah enrolled at Springdale Elementary School in Fort Worth, they had a lot of catching up to do. Leonard Reyes, their grandfather and legal guardian, explained that his grandchildren had a troubled start in life. Neither their mother nor their father wanted to care for them, he said, and the children didn’t enroll in school at the usual time. “They didn’t go to school for a couple of years,” he said. Isaiah and Savannah came to live with Leonard, who is raising four grandchildren in spite of having a disability.

Last fall the school invited Isaiah, now age 9, and Savannah, 8, to be part of UnitED Reading Ready, a United Way education program that helps children improve their reading proficiency. The two siblings have received specialized reading help in a small group of their own three afternoons a week after school.

“That’s where they are learning how to do more reading and writing. They like everything about it,” said their grandfather. “It’s made quite a bit of difference. Writing was one of the hardest things for Isaiah. Savannah had problems reading, but she’s doing real good now since she started that program.”

Isaiah struggles a little bit more and takes speech therapy. Program Coordinator Carla McKissic said Isaiah is able to read short stories now, and he and Savannah can recite most letters and sounds of the alphabet. When Carla visited the school, she watched the children engaged in songs with their teacher and saw smiles on their faces as they recited grammar rules.

Your investment in United Way is helping Isaiah and Savannah open the door to a brighter future.