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Read to Succeed program making a difference for elementary students

Read to Succeed program making a difference for elementary students

Read to Succeed volunteers reads with a Pleasant Valley Elementary studentFor more than 300 young readers, having a volunteer reading coach means they improve two key reading skills — comprehension (how well they understand text) and fluency (how fast they read).

The Read to Succeed program, a partnership between Wichita Public Schools and United Way of the Plains, provides these reading coaches for targeted second- and third-grade students. Those students are ones not quite meeting their grade-level standards heading into the school year.

Now in the program’s sixth year, the coaches support their students by meeting with them weekly for 20 minutes. They listen to them read and provide tips to help them improve their reading skills.

Read to Succeed will continue in 21 WPS schools with more than 350 volunteer reading coaches this year. Three new schools — Adams, Kelly, and Lawrence elementaries — will start the program with second graders. The goal is for their reading coaches to continue with them in third grade.

“To accomplish the district’s third-grade reading goal, we need to reach students from Pre-K through third grade,” said Suzy Finn, the program lead for Wichita Public Schools. “We want to see if starting in second grade will lead to even more success in future years.”

The results for participating students in 2021-22 were impressive.

Students at these grades should have an average of 1 word per minute (wpm) growth each week. Second-grade students who participated in the program out-performed their peers with an average weekly growth of 1.36 wpm, and third-grade participants had an average weekly growth of 1.33 wpm.

That reading rate is an important one to measure and work on. When students meet that target (125 wpm average), they are more likely to both read the words accurately and understand the meaning of those words. Third-grade Read to Succeed students also read at an accuracy rate that was higher than the district average.

The program will kick off in early September and volunteer reading coaches are needed. If you are interested in participating in the program, go to to learn more.


Posted on Aug. 31, 2022.