Started in 2004 at the request of the Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent of Schools, Roberta and Clay Klein started a fund at the Desert Community Foundation and asked the pastor of their church for his assistance in recruiting volunteers. Father Howard Lincoln of Sacred Heart Church readily agreed. The District had been using English speaking volunteers to the extent, they could get them to go into the schools in the district that had no English speaking people in the community. Roberta asked the Superintendent if he would provide buses if they could recruit volunteers who were fluent in English through churches and other organizations.
Read With Me was born and now brings volunteers from eleven sponsoring churches to fourteen different schools. The schools are all in areas of high poverty with a majority of the parents untrained in academic English. They love their children but cannot help them with English.
In 2013, Read With Me received a Golden Bell Award for English Acquisition from the California School Board Association. We believe the program is totally replicable in other areas that face similar challenges in providing tutoring and mentoring for disadvantaged children in a classroom setting.
What we do
In the classroom, the teacher assigns individual volunteers to selected students to listen to them read, assisting them with pronunciation and comprehension. The mentor/tutors are typically retired part-time Coachella Valley residents, some with special skills who help specific students go beyond the basic.