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Read to Succeed program announces results of this year’s program and plans to expand

Read to Succeed program announces results of this year’s program and plans to expand

Read to Succeed logo The United Way’s Women’s United program announced the results of this year’s Read to Succeed program at a luncheon for supporters and volunteers at the Advanced Learning Library in Wichita.

Read to Succeed supports third-grade students who need a little help in becoming better readers. Studies have shown that having a student read at grade level by the end of third grade has a great impact on a student’s success in school and in life.

The program consists of community members volunteering 20 to 30 minutes a week to have a third-grade student read aloud to them.

“Anyone can participate as a reading coach,” said Justine Milmine, the chair of the Women’s United program. “The time commitment is 20-30 minutes a week once a week. You meet with your reading buddy and listen to them read. It’s about making sure they comprehend what they’re reading and helping them to gain confidence in their reading.”

The Read to Succeed program is currently in 20 WPS elementary schools and in the 2018-2019 school year 392 reading coaches served 382 students.

This year, on average, Read to Succeed students began third grade reading six words per minute behind non-Read to Succeed students. By the end of the year, Read to Succeed students surpassed non-Read to Succeed students by one word per minute.

Program students were reading at an average accuracy rate of 98.6 percent; approximately two percentage points higher than non-program students. 

As a result of this year’s achievements, 120 achieved third-grade reading levels and graduated from Read to Succeed. 

Because of the success of the program, Women’s United announced a pilot expansion for Read to Succeed next school year. 

Although progress happens during the third grade year, some of the third-grade students in the program are coming in behind grade level. To make more progress, the pilot program will work with second-grade students at Gardiner, Franklin and Minneha, giving them the opportunity to make those same gains in second-grade and continue working toward grade level literacy by the end of third grade.

A group of pastors from the local faith community has raised their hands to be part of the pilot. Todd Carter, pastor at Pathway Church, has led a coalition of faith leaders to recruit volunteers from their communities to ensure that we have the volunteers necessary to fill these new spots.

Franklin Elementary principal Susanne Smith, who has seen first-hand how the program has impacted third-grade students at her school, is looking forward to being able to offer the extra reading support to more students.

“The opportunity to expand the program to second grade will give us that much more opportunity to intervene early with kids,” said Smith.

If you’re interested in becoming a reading coach for 2019-20 school year, visit to register.