United Way launches literacy program

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) —  The United Way of Trumbull County unveiled a new program Monday morning to help keep children on target when it comes to literacy.

Colleen Schrum has taught in the Warren schools for the past 15 years. The second-grade teacher knows firsthand how important it is for students to be able to read by the third grade.

“In literacy in the middle school it was a problem. Middle school students who are reading at a significantly lower grade level than they are at,” said United Way of Trumbull County President Ginny Pasha.

Schrum said it’s not just reading, but phonics and reading comprehension. Students who can’t grasp it early get more frustrated if it’s not caught early.

“Let’s do the math. According to a study, three-fourths of third graders are poor readers. That same study suggests those poor readers will continue on to high school and be poor readers there,” Schrum said.

That’s why the United Way of Trumbull County is launching “Reading Great By 8.” It’s comprised of three programs that will prepare at-risk students in order to meet the requirements of the third-grade guarantee.

“It’s not only educating our students but also our parents as well on how to become active members in their child’s education as well as the school districts,” Pasha said.

Schrum said parents are crucial in making this program a success and stressed that students need to practice reading at home.

“Fifteen to 20 minutes every night reading the books we give them to take home to enforce what we did during the day so that they become fluent readers,” she said.

The “Reading Great by 8” program starts this summer. School districts interested in being a part of the program should call the United Way.

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