Mountain Xpress: Groups cooperate to help kids learn to read

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Graphic by Lori Deaton

We at Read to Succeed Asheville and the Literacy Council of Buncombe County welcome an ongoing conversation about the achievement gap. This disturbing and repressive characteristic of school systems is marked by disparity in children’s educational performance based on their socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, native language and other factors. Thank you, [Blair] Fielding, for your voluntarism and your response [“Augustine Project Also Helps Young Readers,” Feb. 1, Xpress] to the Jan. 11 [Xpress] article, “Closing Asheville’s Achievement Gap.”

Our two organizations enjoy a cooperative relationship that continues to grow and evolve. One important element of our partnership is cross-referring students so that children who struggle to read receive the best service possible for their unique needs. The passionate and well-trained volunteer tutors at the Literacy Council’s Augustine Project and R2S fill a critical need within our community. They help students overcome barriers to educational success, building the child’s confidence alongside their reading, writing and spelling skills. These outcomes are truly life-altering.

An important correction: R2S seeks to serve students of color who live in poverty and are on the losing side of the achievement gap. About 60 percent of participants live in Asheville’s subsidized housing, and the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville is a longtime supporter of R2S. Subsidized housing residence is not a requirement for participation in the program.

Both organizations welcome qualified volunteers who wish to train to be tutors. Please contact the Literacy Council at 828-254-3442 and Read to Succeed at 828-747-2277 for more information.

— Ashley Lasher
Director, Literacy Council of Buncombe County

— Pat Bastian
Director, Read To Succeed Asheville

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