CITY-WIDE PARTNERSHIP: In November, a city-wide Rally for Reading was held at Rudisill Regional Library. From left are Latasha Lucas, Reading Partners volunteer; TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist; TPS Board of Education President Dr. Lana Turner Addison; Elizabeth Brands Vereecke, Reading Partners executive director; Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum; and Ben Stewart, senior program officer for George Kaiser Family Foundation.
On Nov. 10, Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum joined Tulsa Public Schools and Reading Partners to host a Rally for Reading at Rudisill Regional Library to announce a city-wide effort to significantly increase the reading proficiency rate for Tulsa third graders.
During his remarks, Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum challenged 2,000 Tulsans to spend one hour a week volunteering as a reading partner. During this one hour, volunteers use an evidence-based curriculum to read with a Tulsa Public Schools student who is currently reading up to two-and-a-half years behind grade level.
“Students reading below grade level in third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school,” Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum said. “Right now, about half of Tulsa Public Schools third grade students have not mastered this key academic benchmark.”
“Reading Partners makes a lasting impact on a student’s life. It’s about making those results through meeting with a tutor one hour a week and helping Tulsa Public Schools students reach academic success,” said Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist. “This one hour a week doesn’t only make you feel good about helping a child, it actually works and we have the proof.”
Reading Partners tutors have the power to make a measurable impact on a child’s life and academic success. Last year, 90 percent of children tutored through Reading Partners mastered the foundational reading skills needed to read at reading level. Additionally, according to an annual survey, 99 percent of teachers reported that Reading Partners was of value to their school, 93 percent of volunteers were satisfied with their experience and 94 percent of principals reported improved school-wide reading progress.
“Take time out of your lunch break and spend an hour reading with a child. It’s that easy to make measurable change in a child’s life,” said Dr. Lana Turner-Addison, Tulsa Public Schools board president.
To conclude the event, Bynum, Gist and Addison pledged their commitment to join the effort and volunteer with Reading Partners. Reading Partners Tulsa is currently recruiting Reading Partners volunteers. For more information on volunteering with Reading Partners, visit readingpartners.org.