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Group In Seattle Connects Volunteers With Students Who Need Reading Help

Ashley Gross
Amy Bice, a volunteer with Reading Partners, works with Senai Sampson at Madrona Elementary School

Across the state, there are a lot of kids who struggle with reading. Almost half of third-graders failed to pass the state assessment for English language arts.

That's an important time in school because research has shown that students who struggle with reading at the end of third grade are less likely to graduate from high school.

With the start of school, groups are seeking volunteers to work with students who need more help, including the nonprofit organization Reading Partners, which operates in four high-poverty elementary schools in Seattle and one in the Highline school district.

Cassy Charyn, executive director of Reading Partners Seattle, said volunteers find the work rewarding.

“Not only do they really come to develop a strong bond but they see the impact that it’s making for their students,” Charyn said. “So they see a kid who could barely sound out a one-syllable word sounding out multi-syllable words by the end of the year, and so our volunteers tell us that they really see the impact that it’s making for their students.”

Reading Partners provides training and curriculum for volunteers. The program serves children from kindergarten through fourth grade.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.

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