A study by the American Educational Research Association found that a student who can't read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer.
Third grade is a pivot point. Reading is taught for the first three grades and then after that children are not learning to read but using their reading skills to learn other topics.
Researchers at Stanford's Graduate School of Education say reading fluency suffered dramatically, especially among second and third grade students during virtual schooling.
Coming out of the pandemic where virtual schooling was the only option, we know that there are many children who are now in the 3rd grade who are behind and will not catch up without extra help.
Our funds are going to be used to fund the cost of specialized reading and literacy tutoring provided by Resource Room. Resource Room is a comprehensive learning center that is owned and operated by career educators. They are located near PS18 which is important because third graders will need to be able to get to the learning center with their parent's assistance.
An important part of the program will be identifying the children who are in need. To accomplish this, we will partner with United Activities Unlimited which runs the Beacon After School Enrichment Program at PS18 in West Brighton, Staten Island. This public elementary school largely serves residents of the West Brighton public housing complex. UAU staff know the children and their families well and will be able to identify the best candidates for our program.
Club members will be getting involved in a few ways. We are going to need a significant fundraising effort to fund the program. We will then be having club members "adopt" each program participant. The club member will connect with the family and assist with reminder calls based upon the individual tutoring schedule and address any barriers to participation. A key to the program's success is making sure the children are participating in the Resource Room program. The members will also purchase books for the children which will support and encourage the learning that is occurring. We will also host a program "graduation" with the children and their families to present certificates and books at the end of the program.