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 seven churches to five 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.
Read With Me
A Golden Bell award for English Acquisition by the California School Board Association.
2022 GuideStar Silver Seal of Transparency
We are accepting new and returning volunteers!
Our Read with Me Coordinators will assist all volunteers in the registration process for your assigned school. Volunteers will be in-person in all schools in 2022-2023. Contact us at email@example.com or at 760-567-1830 to get started!
Watch this video from our local news source, KESQ, for more information about our program:
Our volunteers commit to one to two hours a week to visit an Elementary School classroom to read with students. The teacher will provide the volunteer with a book or reading activity, and match them with either one or two students at a table for the volunteer to read with students. The teacher in that classroom directs which children the volunteer is to work with and the materials to be used. The volunteer determines what day of the week they are available and after registering for a specific school, the school assigns the volunteer to a specific classroom. Sometimes the volunteers work one on one and sometimes one on two.
How Do Volunteers Help Students?
Why do we use churches to recruit volunteers?
Because churches seek opportunites for their members of their congregation to serve others and because churches are natural gathering places for people in the community and have systems of communication with their parishoners, they are a natural community partner.
In addition, they usually have large parking lots that are safe for volunteers to park in during the week and take the bus to a, perhaps, not so safe or close school.
Who Do We Tutor?
The schools that we focus on have a very high incidence of children coming from homes where no English is spoken. 90% of the children we serve live in homes at the poverty level. Their parents love them and work hard to provide for them but are unable to help them academically. We provide an opportunity for the children to practice their English Language skills and improve their proficiency.
Why Is This Program
All the research indicates that if a child is not reading at grade level by the third grade they are more likely to drop out of high school than their at-level peers. When students drop out, they are at a great risk of getting into trouble with the law and ending up in prison. A former Chaplin who served with state and Federal prisons says, “Indeed about 65% of the inmates learn to read in prison [for the first time!]." When Read with Me started in 2004 in the Coachella Valley the graduation rate was 51.1%. In 2016 it was 86.1%. We are part of the team that is responsible for improving language skills and helping more and more children have the opportunity for success. Language barriers can be overcome, and every child can have the opportunity to develop to their maximum capacity.
Which Schools Need Volunteers At This Time?
There are several Elementary schools that need volunteers at this time. All the schools we serve have room at the start of each new school year. To get information on how you can volunteer, see the contact information below.
How Do Volunteers
Learn What To Do?
An in-person or virtual orientation is provided for new volunteers. There are presentations that are reviewed as well as training videos. Through these orientations, the volunteer learns about different techniques like high-frequency words, phonemic awareness, leveled reading with age-appropriate books, fluency practice, spelling word sorts, or just simple alphabet and sound work. The teacher will let the volunteer know which techniques should be used with which student.
Who Should I Contact For More Information?