In 2019, the Champaign Chamber of Commerce and many other organizations launched a reading and math literacy program (iRead • iCount) aimed at reducing the achievement gap in our schools. As the program was piloted in 2019, we were starting to see some very promising, measurable results. Then, Covid. So, we are back to square one, with even more hurdles to overcome due to learning loss.
Our community is the home to the world-renowned University of Illinois. What happens in this community changes the world. But too many children in the University’s backyard are not meeting or exceeding third-grade math and reading levels. We have to do better.
We have kindergarten and first-grade students who need extra help this spring with reading. This program is not rocket science. It is a caring adult spending one hour a week in a classroom. During that hour, they work with three to four students doing activities designed for this program. This hour makes a difference. In 2019, we had students start the program not knowing any of their letters. By the end of the program, they knew all 26 (upper and lower case), and they could spell their name.
Seven hours. That’s it. Consider investing seven hours in a classroom this fall. The program starts on March 21 and runs through May 5. Hundreds of volunteers are needed. Please consider volunteering and spreading the word about this need.
The deadline for volunteers to apply has been extended to Friday, February 10 for Unit 4 and Unit 116. Applications can be found at https://www.champaigncounty.org/iread-icount.