Would you describe your child as a reluctant reader? Do you wish they could have a tutor?
If your answer to both questions is "yes," but you're not sure how to get that extra help, this blog is for you.
What you – your child's first teacher – does at home with them can make a big difference in their success in school.
I'm a mom too, so I know that your time is precious. That's why I suggest using these four strategies that United Way's ReadUP volunteer tutoring program incorporates into its successful work with third, fourth and fifth graders who are a year or two behind in their reading.
Why not take a half hour or so to try these ideas yourself and see if you notice a difference in your young reader?
- Echo Reading: You read a short passage with expression, intonation and fluency. Then your child reads the same passage trying to use the same expression, intonation and fluency. You, grandparents, or siblings can read to your child this way to improve their skills and comprehension and to simply develop a love of reading together.
- Five Finger Rule:When selecting a new book for your child, ask for their help in picking one that is challenging but not so hard that it discourages them or so easy that they don't improve. Ask your child to read a short paragraph or page from the book appeals to them. As they read, your child holds up all five fingers on one hand. Each time your child skips over a word, has trouble pronouncing it, or substitutes another word, ask them to put down one finger.
Use this chart to help select the right book for your child's level. Ideally, your child should have one or two fingers down for a text that will challenge them.
- Questioning: As you read together, ask your child questions about the reading to help them make connections to the text and improve their understanding. For example, ask what they think will happen next? Ask them to give you an example of a time when something similar happened to them. Or, ask them to think of another choice the character could have made. Answering those kinds of questions and others will help your child remember information, understand the meaning behind the writing and apply the information to other situations.
- Variety: Read a variety of fiction and non-fiction. This will expose your child to a range of vocabulary and ideas. Provide an assortment of books, magazines, comic books, picture books, brochures, maps and newspapers. Also, read road signs and building signs together as you're going places. It's a way to easily fit reading into your already busy life.
Let us how these tips work for you! If you like them, share them with other families. And, if you try them and would like to help someone else's child by becoming a ReadUP tutor, please go to www.readupindy.org or call 317.921.1217 to sign up now. Or, if someone you know would be a great tutor, encourage them to get involved! Better readers become better students. And, better students have the building blocks for a better life!
--Shannon Jenkins, ReadUP reading specialist
Editor’s Note: Shannon Jenkins is in her third year working as a reading specialist for United Way of Central Indiana’s ReadUP program. She serves as a liaison between the participating schools and United Way and works one-on-one with students and volunteer tutors. Jenkins earned a Master’s Degree in reading instruction in 2007, with a focus on elementary remedial reading. Before that, she taught fourth- and fifth grades in MSD Pike Township.
On October 18, United Way of Central Indiana worked with the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Wesleyan University to unveil a new Colts-themed fitness room at the Christamore House, a United Way agency, as part of the Hometown Huddle event. Colts players and team mascot Blue assisted in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, then helped the youth from Christamore House get active in their new room by participating in fitness activities and challenging them on the Wii Fit system.
Hometown Huddle brings awareness to the NFL’s PLAY 60 initiative, which encourages youth to be active at least 60 minutes each day. Check out this video recap of the event. Thanks to all who helped make this day such a success!
--Jody Pope, special events director, United Way of Central Indiana
The Give Gleefully video competition keeps on churning out the hits! Our winner for September – with more than 1,200 votes and nearly $400 donated – was Brightpoint, for their take on the Village People’s “YMCA” with lyrics changed, of course, to support “United Way.” Can’t you just hear it? Better yet, click here to watch it! The good sports at Brightpoint even came downtown to our campaign kickoff on Sept. 9 to perform live in front of hundreds of onlookers. Now that’s commitment!
Brightpoint and all our monthly winners will be eligible for grand prize voting this December, so keep watching, voting and donating!
Marianne Glick, Owner, GlickArt.com
2011 Annual Campaign Chair
There have been some interesting developments related to early childhood issues at the State House over the last few weeks. Each summer and fall, Indiana General Assembly interim study committees meet to review, or "study", issues identified by the legislature during the most recent legislative session or suggested by legislators. Two committees that United Way of Central Indiana has been following closely and participating in this year are the committee on child care and the interim study committee on education issues. Both met during the week of September 26 and covered some interesting topics.
The child care committee – which continues to study the status and quality of child care in the state – met after touring several different child care facilities in Indianapolis. Committee members spoke highly of two facilities they toured that are affiliated with United Way of Central Indiana: St. Mary's Child Center – a licensed child care center and United Way agency, and Charity Child Care Ministry – a child care provider that is part of United Way's registered ministry project and has achieved a Level 1 status in the state's Paths to QUALITY program. Committee members spoke highly of both the quality of each program's facilities and the ministry work being conducted. You can read the meeting minutes here. As you will read in the minutes, unfortunately not all child care providers offer such safe, high quality care. It's because of these discrepancies in care among providers that United Way continues to support standardizing basic health and safety requirements for Indiana child care providers. The child care committee meets one more time this year, on October 25, when they'll be discussing any possible legislation or other recommendations for the 2012 legislative session. Here's a link to the committee's web page if you'd like to attend or watch online.
On September 29, the interim study committee on education issues met and heard testimony on how early childhood education can help improve high school graduation rates. Dr. Ted Maple - director of United Way of Central Indiana's Success by 6 program - spoke about United Way's early childhood work, including United Way's support for standardized child care health and safety and mandatory full-day kindergarten. Dr. Maple also testified on behalf of the Indiana Association of United Ways about policy options that the state should consider a focus on early childhood. At this meeting, the committee adopted – by a vote of 10-0 – a motion to support development of an early learning advisory committee to the Indiana education roundtable. You can read the minutes from the meeting here.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on related to early learning in Indiana. Stay tuned for further updates as these committees wrap up their work later this fall and develop final reports by November 1.
--Laura Smoots, director, public policy, United Way of Central Indiana
What's your favorite way to celebrate a successful project?
It's hard to beat the recipe of bringing everyone together to thank them, stirring in a tasty meal, mixing in some memories of what you accomplished together, and of course, planning the NEXT project!
So that's what we did yesterday to cap off the 2011 United Way Volunteer for Education Simulcast.
The tasty meal was served by culinary job training students at Second Helpings, a United Way agency.
The thank yous were prepared by 2011 Annual Campaign Chair Marianne Glick and Board Chair David Resnick, starting with an extra helping of gratitude to lead producer, Young-Hee Yedinak, from WTHR Channel 13.
The memories were shared by viewing some of the video packages local TV stations created about volunteers who read, tutor or mentor our children. (If you missed the Sept. 6 debut, you can watch them now on YouTube!)
And, next year's project got started with the announcement from United Way's President and CEO Ellen Annala and General Manager Jeff White that WISH TV 8 will be the lead producer in 2012!
Thank you again to all our local television stations, The Indianapolis Star and the nearly 100 individuals who made this project possible!
--Mary Kinney, public/media relations director, United Way of Central Indiana
At United Way’s annual campaign kickoff on Friday, September 9, I had the honor of announcing the first monthly winner of our Give Gleefully video competition. Emma’s story, which gained the most votes and donations during the month of August, shows you United Way through the lens of one young family whose little girl was born with challenges we wish no one had to endure. Thanks in part to Easter Seals Crossroads, a United Way agency, today Emma is…well, you’ll just have to watch the video to find out!
As of today, we’ve reached 39% of our campaign goal of $39.2 million. With your support, we’ll hit 100% or better. You can give at work or online, you can donate on behalf of a Give Gleefully video or even submit your own story. There are so many good ways and reasons to give – including our new Caring Club and tickets to the Super Bowl! Tell us what motivates you to give.
Marianne Glick, Owner, GlickArt.com
2011 Annual Campaign Chair
Many children are reluctant readers. They often lack basic reading skills, and subsequently earn poor grades. As early as third and fourth grade, many find themselves academically well behind their peers in all subjects.
Some, however, simply need extra time and assistance to catch up. ReadUP offers that opportunity.
For several years now, Greenfield-Central School Corporation and United Way have partnered to offer reluctant readers extra help through ReadUP, a unique community-based tutoring program. And it appears that our students and volunteers couldn’t be happier about this exceptional tutoring program.
ReadUP, a program funded by United Way, links community volunteers to third grade students who need extra assistance with reading. Greenfield-Central is very fortunate to have expanded ReadUP programs at three of its elementary schools: Harris, JB Stephens, and, most recently, Weston Elementary. Community volunteers receive training in tutoring skills, and are then matched up with struggling readers one hour each week.
And does it ever make a difference! Students rave about their tutors, and teachers and parents unreservedly support the program. Many reluctant readers gain measurable progress of one or more reading levels in a relatively short amount of time, and develop a better appreciation for reading in the process.
Moreover, students are not the only ones to benefit from ReadUP. Volunteer tutors find they are able to gain a child’s admiration and trust along the way. Priceless!
Greenfield-Central School Corporation is a strong and committed advocate for United Way’s ReadUP programs.
We see results. We LIVE UNITED!
--Dr. Linda Gellert, Superintendent, Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation
For many years, calls to Connect2Help 2-1-1 for food assistance have been significant. However, during the most recent economic crisis, we have seen the number of people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families increase by the thousands. These numbers are staggering and are indicative of the trend in need for all the basics of survival.
It seems almost impossible in this day and age that we would have people in central Indiana who are literally struggling to survive. All the things that many take for granted – food, clothing, education, health care, employment, a safe place to live – have become almost impossible dreams for many in our community.
Food tops the list of things that most people assume is plentiful and easy to get, regardless of your financial circumstances. This is America, after all. Unfortunately, hunger is very real in our community.
Last month, the Census Bureau released new figures showing that nearly one in six Americans lives in poverty — a record 46.2 million people. Hunger in America 2010, a study conducted by Feeding America, reveals that most people who are living below the federal poverty level “often have to make choices between buying food and paying for other basic needs” like housing and utilities.
For those who find their way to 2-1-1, they can often find not only food but guidance and information on programs and agencies that might be able to help them break the cycle of poverty and move on to happier, healthier and more self-sufficient lives.
It is a small thing, maybe – being able to help a family have enough food for dinner, connecting a senior to food and community at a congregate meal site, getting a young child the breakfast he needs to do well in school – but the ramifications of these connections can be absolutely critical for many people, some of whom live right next door or down the street.
With the help of funding agencies like United Way of Central Indiana and services like Connect2Help 2-1-1, we can improve our community’s ability to obtain the necessary food, funding and volunteer resources to ensure that no one in our community has to go hungry.
--Lynn Engel, president and CEO, Connect2Help
Editor's note: Connect2Help (C2H) facilitates connections between people who need human services and those who provide them. The agency produces The Rainbow Book™, a comprehensive directory listing information for thousands of community resources , and provides information and referral services (I&R) through the 2-1-1 dialing code, 317-926-HELP, and other toll-free numbers, 24 hours a day,7 days a week.
Since C2H became an independent agency in 1987, UWCI has invested more than $12.4 million in Connect2Help's mission. The agency's current Community Fund allocation is $688,979. (For more than 40 years, information and referral services were provided at United Way.) This funding includes more than $465,000 from the Capital Projects and Technology funds for facility and technology upgrades and $290,000 in Targeted Initiatives Funds (TIF) for implementation of 2-1-1. TIF also provided $555,000 for development and implementation of 211 calling in Indiana. (Monies separate from the annual campaign.)