Read to SucceedAccording to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, nearly 15% of American adults cannot read--that’s 32 million adults. It’s our hope to combat this by starting a love for reading and cultivating comprehension skills early.

The Read to Succeed Program is a structured reading program for kindergarten and first grade students that develops basic reading skills. The United Way is particularly focused on developing community resources in support of education, particularly literacy education among children. The Read to Succeed Program has successfully acquired a strong volunteer base that maintains the program. The community support has been exceptional. The program has expanded to include five public elementary schools in Cape Girardeau.

A maximum of 24 students are selected by Principals and teachers to participate in the program each semester. Read to Succeed volunteers read with one of these students one-on-one for a 30 - 40 minute time period four days a week. Volunteers can donate a minimum of one day per week of their time or more depending on their schedule. Each school operates their reading program on a specific time schedule, and volunteers may select the times that fit their schedule.

The focus of the reading program is to accelerate the student’s reading level by one grade level. In the fall of 2012, 97% of the students gained one grade level. In the spring of 2013, 99% of the students gained one grade level. We are very excited about the progress of our students. The program has met its goal successfully and plans to continue. The Read to Succeed Program is committed to building relationships with students and providing the encouragement needed to become successful readers and community members. The program begins in September and ends in late April. Volunteers are asked to make a weekly commitment for at least one semester until mid-December.

For more information on the Read to Succeed program, and to learn how you can get involved, contact Robin Koetting, 573.334.9634, or fill out our volunteer interest form.

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Read to Excel

United Way of Southeast Missouri is pleased to announce it is the recipient of a two-member grant from the DeltaCorps Regional Authority, a division of AmeriCorps. The grant provides two members for a new program, Read to Excel (R2X), an expansion of our valuable Read to Succeed program in the Cape Girardeau Public Schools.

Much of the reason we were awarded two members is based on the proven success of Read to Succeed, which originally was funded by an AmeriCorps grant that enabled the program to expand to all Cape Girardeau elementary schools in 2012. We now have data demonstrating those students who were in kindergarten and first grade that year, and are now in third and fourth grade, have the highest reading proficiency rates of any of the other cohorts.

This means that more than ever, we need community members to come together and help our students improve one of the most important skills they can have. If you can commit just 30 minutes every week to work with a student, you can make a huge impact in the life of a student. 

For more information on the Read to Excel program, and to learn how you can get involved, contact Emily Cabot or Nancy Israel, 573.334.9634, or fill out our volunteer interest form.

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