Greenwich United Way’s Reading Champions Program Needs You!

Karen Keegan (Chairman of the Board), Joan Lowe (GHS Distinguished Teacher), Kaitlin R. DeBellis (Motivational Speaker and Author), Brook Urban (Vice Chair of Fund Development), Jeremy Nappi (Director of Development).

Karen Keegan (Chairman of the Board), Joan Lowe (GHS Distinguished Teacher), Kaitlin R. DeBellis (Motivational Speaker and Author), Brook Urban (Vice Chair of Fund Development), Jeremy Nappi (Director of Development).

On Nov 24th Kaitlin M. Roig-DeBellis, inspirational teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary and author of ‘Choosing Hope’, visited Greenwich United Way to meet with Founder of Reading Champions, Joan Lowe. Kaitlin and Joan talked about the innovative after school program that was established by United Way in 2011 and works to narrow the achievement gap among elementary school youth in Greenwich.

About 400 students currently work with more than 100 Reading Champions volunteers each week and on Dec 14th a new location will open at Old Greenwich Elementary.

“Reading Champions is special because it focuses on building students’ fluency skills while building their confidence,” Joan said, adding, “This program is designed to celebrate growth and our kids are proud of their own progress.”

Greenwich United Way is looking for new Reading Champion volunteers.

Residents can learn more about this program by contacting the Greenwich Youth Services Coordinator, Jenny Byxbee (jbyxbee@unitedway-greenwich.com).

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  • Jodi Weisz

    The United Way is a true leader here! I have read the annual community needs assessment report and the United Way is spot on.

    Also, “self-selection” of 10 books every three-four months has been found to be a very powerful tool of closing the achievement gap.

    These books need to pass the five finger rule, be attractive, fresh and on the readers’ exact level to build confidence.

    I recently bought five needy children fresh, enticing, easy reader books from Barnes and Noble, they are having a sale, 10 paperback easy reader books for 20 dollars! A mere $100 for 5 kids.

    12-15 self selected books over the summer is KEY.

    The key is the books have to be fresh, clean, enticing, and what librarians in the field call “self-selected.”

    Here’s a great article about a longitudinal study that covers this.

    I personally worked with the Head of the NYPL youth services division, Mary Jane Tacchi, on this and she trained me regarding this and other techniques; they work!

    http://www.slj.com/2013/06/interviews/summer-reading-and-the-richpoor-achievement-gap-an-educator-responds-to-questions/

  • Wallace Tierney

    Why not give these folks $100,000 to read to kids and get them online.
    Looks like they are filled with energy, unlike the staff at the Greenwich Public Library who sit around.

  • F.G. Young

    There she is again. Kaitlin Roug out pretending she’s a celebrity. Must be nice to be out doing book tours, photoshoots, walking red carpets and getting awards, while other teachers either died or choose to not make that horrible event about themselves.