Ballard East Elementary in Cambridge has been named an Iowa Reading Corps AmeriCorps Program site for 2014. As a result, the school will be recruiting an AmeriCorps member, trained as an elementary literacy tutor, for the 2014-2015 school year.
With an overarching goal of ensuring that more Iowa students are on track to read at grade level by the end of third grade, Iowa Reading Corps AmeriCorps Program, an initiative of United Ways of Iowa, is replicating the successful, evidence-based model first launched in Minnesota in 2003. Ballard East Elementary is one of 15 schools awarded this status throughout the state of Iowa. The program in Cambridge is made possible through matching funds and support provided by Story County United Way. Ballard West Elementary is an Iowa Reading Corps school this year and has already named its member, Sara Prins.
Ballard East Principal Mike Manock said, “We are excited to be part of this program for the upcoming year. As one of the first schools in Iowa to have an AmeriCorps literacy tutor last year, we saw the benefits of having a highly trained tutor work with our students. The students progressed and improved their reading while working with Mrs. Busch. We look forward to being part of the program again to help our students become better readers.” Principal Mike Manock encourages anyone interested in learning more about Iowa Reading Corps, or applying to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Ballard East Elementary to visit www.uwiowa.org/IowaReadingCorps.
Iowa Reading Corps is a statewide initiative of United Ways of Iowa to help every Iowa child become a successful reader by the end of third grade. According to the Iowa Department of Education, in 2011-12 nearly 25 percent of third grade students could not read proficiently at grade level. This number rose to 35 percent for students of low socio-economic status. To support the tremendous work of educators in our state, Iowa Reading Corps places AmeriCorps members, trained as elementary literacy tutors, to provide research-based literacy tutoring to students in kindergarten through third grade who are below grade level in reading. Members serve full-time in their schools and provide targeted, one-on-one literacy tutoring to Reading Corps students for 20 minutes each school day. During the summer months, members partner with their local United Way to participate in literacy-based summer activities.