Schools of Hope is a volunteer reading program that builds early literacy skills to help children succeed in school and life. More than half of the 3rd graders in Lake County are reading below grade level. Through the Schools of Hope program at Lakeport Elementary School (LES), volunteer tutors work one-on-one with 1st grade students to build critical reading skills. Schools of Hope is recruiting tutors for the upcoming school year. Training is provided and a high school diploma is required.
Last year Schools of Hope served 23 students with 12 volunteer tutors. Site Coordinator Betty Dryden says, “Last year’s assessments revealed a significant improvement rate within Schools of Hope students. We collaborate with 1st grade teachers to identify students in need, provide one-on-one help, and reinforce established curriculum. Our goal is to help these students achieve reading proficiency before they reach 3rd grade.” Dryden is a retired educator and has been volunteering at LES for over 7 years.
The program was first established at LES by 2nd grade teacher Meg Harper. Harper has been an educator at LES for over 25 years. Harper says, “Research shows that a child’s ability to read at grade level by the time they reach 3rd grade is a powerful predictor of later success. Some children need extra help and one-on-one care. Through Schools of Hope we’re able to bring together two groups within our community that help and inspire one another.”
Dryden hopes to continue expanding the Schools of Hope program by recruiting volunteers for the upcoming school year. “Before I retired, I had a dream to help young children individually in reading. Now I’m fulfilling this dream. A reading tutor can help change a life. Our tutors do much more than teach reading skills. Our students gain confidence and become more motivated to read each week. They look forward to receiving individual attention and support from our tutors,” adds Dryden.
Schools of Hope tutor Heather Smith says, “I love working with kids and seeing their improvement throughout the year. After a few weeks they get to know you, they begin to trust you, and soon they start opening up. That’s when the real progress is made.” Tutor Nancy Thornton adds, “The richness you feel in your heart when you make an impact on a child’s life is priceless. Once it clicks for them, and they’re able to read back to me, I always tear up with joy.”
Become a Schools of Hope tutor and commit to a couple of hours each week from October – May. Applications are being accepted now. Volunteer during your lunch hour and help a child read to succeed. All tutors are provided with materials and training. Schools of Hope is funded through United Way. To apply and learn more call Lakeport Unified School District at 707-262-3000.