America Reads

  "There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world.  Love of books is the best of all."

-Jacqueline Kennedy-

Description of the Program

According to the Department of Education (n.d.), national assessments during the mid- 1990’s revealed that approximately 40 percent of fourth graders in this country perform below the basic level of reading. This is an alarming statistic but even more worrisome is that the same assessment data showed that 70 percent of America’s fourth graders’ reading performance is below the proficient level. There is a consensus among experts in the field that students who struggle in school do so due to the lack of mastery of crucial and fundamental reading skills.

The America Reads Challenge was launched in 1997 by President Bill Clinton. He challenged the higher education community to join in the effort to improve children’s reading achievement. The objective of this program is to have all children reading well and independently by the end of the third grade. The targeted audience of this program is preschool through third grade and family literacy programs.

To promote participation in this program by institutions of high education throughout the United States, President Bill Clinton sought the help of his Secretary of Education, Richard W. Riley. So in 1997, the America Reads Federal Work-Study Waiver began. In accordance with the Department of Education (n.d.), the Federal Work Study Program funds can be used to pay up to 100 percent of the wages for any Federal Work Study student who is tutoring preschool age or elementary school children in reading. Since 1997, this waiver has been expanded to include tutor compensation for family literacy programs. Then in July 2000, the federal government mandated that every institution of higher education receiving federal work study funding must have a literacy tutoring program and devote seven percent of the funds toward service in the community. All of the America Reads tutor wages count toward this seven percent condition.

References:

Department of Education.  (n.d.). America reads challenge. Retrieved June 11, 2010, from: http://www2.ed.gov/inits/americareads/resourcekit/miscdocs/initiative.html

Department of Education, W., & Corporation for National Service, W. (2001). Evidence That Tutoring Works. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Department of Education.  (n.d.). Federal work-study and community service award year 2000-2001 and the America reads challenge. Retrieved June 11, 2010 from: http://www2.ed.gov/inits/americareads/coluniv_fws_2000.html


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