CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: May 3, 1999
UI America Reads program ends second year with celebration
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Tutors and students in the University
of Iowas America Reads Tutoring Program will have a chance to say goodbye
to one another during a special celebration Friday, May 7.
The end-of-year event, which marks the programs
second anniversary, will begin at 7 p.m. at Grant Wood Elementary School,
1930 Lakeside Drive. While the celebration is primarily for tutors, students
and their parents, the public is welcome to attend.
The program is expected to last about 60 minutes and
include presentations of certificates, comments by officials from the school
districts and the UI College of Education -- where America Reads is based
-- as well as readings by the participating children. Refreshments will be
"There are many elementary-age children in our
community who can benefit from additional aid in their reading development,"
said Peggy Rowell, America Reads program director at UI. "We have excellent
teachers in our schools, but because of large class sizes they cannot devote
as much individual attention as they would like. America Reads Tutoring Program
gives assistance to teachers free of charge to the public schools."
Initiated by President Clinton two years ago, America
Reads is a nationwide tutoring program designed to improve the reading skills
of children in first through third grades, including students for whom English
is a second language.
The UI programs tutors include about 28 work
study students and10 volunteers who represent a variety of majors. Tutoring
sessions take place in six elementary schools and neighborhood centers.
Rowell said the program requires a considerable commitment
by students and tutors. Tutors get 20 hours of training before beginning and
attend hour-long workshops each week for an entire semester. Each tutor is
paired with two to four children and meets one-on-one for 30 minutes two to
three times per week, using individualized lesson plans and reading materials
that match the childs interests and instructional needs.
Rowell says the commitment
has paid off in the programs two years.
"Teachers and tutors have noticed improvements
in the reading development of the children in such areas as attitude, confidence,
vocabulary and sight words, fluency, comprehension and enjoyment in writing
stories," she said. "We have been able to impact more than 100 children
While the spring session is almost over, America Reads
will offer a tutoring session for six weeks this
summer beginning June 14. Parents interested in having their children tutored
should contact their childs school, local library or neighborhood center.
People interested in tutoring may contact Rowell at 335-5613.
EDITORS NOTE: America Reads
will continue tutoring students through May 7. Media interested in interviewing
and/or photographing participants may call Stephen Pradarelli at (319) 384-0007
to make arrangements.