Location: Wilmington, DE
Date Founded: 1989
Contact Name: Judith Graham Kane
9dc Give Amount: $750
June 28, 2022
Several years ago there was a landmark national study that found there is a direct correlation between reading proficiency by the third grade and graduation rates. It found that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are 4x more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. The study also found that Poverty compounds the problem: Students who have lived in poverty are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time than their more affluent peers. ( “Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation,”)
If you want to make an impact in someone’s life, make sure they can ready proficiently by the end of third grade. That is because most elementary curriculums across the country grades k-3 focus on kids “learning how to read.” Starting in 4th grade, children must “read to learn”. The data is clear. Children who are not proficient readers by 4th grade way too often start the tailspin of falling behind and having terrible difficulty with reading comprehension and learning across the all of the subjects.
It is such a solvable problem and helping children in those critical primary years is exactly what an amazing group in Delaware is doing. Reading Assist is a non-profit organization based in Wilmington, DE. They have partnered with dozens of Elementary schools across the state, conducting regular one-on-one learning sessions with hundreds of students per year that have fallen behind many of which have learning disabilities such as dyslexia or are ESL students. (English as a Second Language)
It was all started by the Founder of Reading Assist, Virginia (“Ginger”) Biasotto in 1979. Motivated by the needs of her own 12 year old son, Ginger developed a multi-sensory, phonics-based reading curriculum based on her studies of the Orton-Gillingham methods.
Determined that other children would not suffer as her son had, Ginger taught the method to friends and neighbors, many of whom worked with their own children before volunteering to work with students in area schools.
By 1989, Ginger’s strategy and methods had grown to a point it was necessary to incorporate as a non-profit organization. Since that time, Reading Assist has worked directly with thousands of students and as grown every year since.
How do they do it? Reading Assist recruits, trains, and embeds “Reading Assist Fellows” to provide daily reading instruction to help students reach grade-level benchmarks.
What is the 9dollarclub doing to help?
With a donation from the 9dollarclub of $750, Reading Assist can equip 7 tutors with the necessary supplies and tools needed to provide, daily, one-on-one high dosage tutoring to nearly 50 students. At the beginning of their service, each tutor receives a backpack full of materials to help them to deploy the highly successful reading intervention programs. Inside each backpack, tutors receive 2 manuals to help guide their work, multiple grapheme decks, whiteboards, markers, magnetic letters, and a Reading Assist t-shirt.
The best way to really understand the impact an organization like Reading Assist can make is to visit theory website (https://readingassist.org/) or watch the special video below to learn more about their strategies and hear specific stories.
The 9dollarclub is thrilled to have met Judith and several other very dedicated volunteers from Reading Assist. They are a wonderful organization that is directly impacting hundreds of lives every year. We are humbled to play a small part in the process by providing materials and supplies for 7 new “Fellows” that will be used by nearly 50 children this coming school year!