United Way of Allen County has successfully recruited 200 volunteers to work this summer with children who struggle with reading. The volunteer recruitment is part of Learn United, a ten-year effort to ensure all students read at grade level by the end of third grade.


Volunteers started June 17.

Volunteers are committing at least one hour per week for one month, June 17-July 17, to work with second- and third-graders who are up to two years behind in reading.  In Allen County, 40 percent of low-income third-graders are not passing the reading portion of ISTEP, and experts estimate that 74 percent will never catch up if they miss this important milestone.

Learn United aims to connect community volunteers with children who struggle reading through a variety of programs designed to improve their literacy skills. Volunteer opportunities are offered by several agencies. Learn United volunteers go through a background check using a system that reviews more than 30 million criminal records nationwide and all 50 states’ sex offender registries. All Learn United volunteers are provided training in the foundations of literacy and gain simple skills to help children learn to read.

Fort Wayne Community Schools expects to have more than 1,200 students enrolled in summer school this year. Teachers recommend students for additional learning opportunities during the summer. United Way and FWCS encourage parents to make the summer enrichment program a priority, as students attending the summer learning program are at the greatest risk of not reaching the critical milestone of reading at grade level by third grade. Any parent having transportation issues should contact FWCS.

“During the summer it’s easy for families to get busy and for kids to miss summer school, but we hope parents take advantage of this opportunity. It’s just one month, but could help shape their child’s future,” says Jamie Garwood, Director of Education Initiatives and Strategies for United Way of Allen County.

Learn United is a collaborative partnership between United Way of Allen County, Fort Wayne Community Schools, East Allen County Schools, The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, Allen County Education Partnership and the Fort Wayne Urban League. For more info visit, www.LearnUnited.org .

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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