We are excited for a new partnership with our friends from the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia (CRFMC). They’re the organization behind the wonderful Ready! for Kindergarten program which we’ve offered our families for many years. Now, we’re working together to bring Team Read to some of our B5 students.

Team Read at B5 is a pilot program that serves about 40 students, grades K-12. Each student meets with their tutor twice a week for half an hour. The tutors, some who are volunteers and other who are B5 employees, were trained by the CRFMC.

Up to now, Team Read has been offered in local elementary schools. The program matches volunteer tutors with students who need extra support to be reading at grade level. The program is limited to children in kindergarten through third grade, since the objective is that all students master the skill of reading by the third grade. After third grade, students are expected to “read to learn,” having already learned to read.

As you might imagine, this is a problem for some of our older students, who arrive AFTER they’re 8 years old. They may know how to read in their home language, but now are learning to read, write, listen, and speak English, all while trying to keep up with their grade-level curriculum. Some students (some of the girls from Afghanistan, for instance) never had the opportunity to learn to read their native language. Others, especially those who’ve had to learn a whole new alphabet, never quite gain the skill in reading that they need to succeed in their school work. We are excited that at B5, older students will also be eligible for this extra help, so they can learn to read well.

Team Read’s Erin Lee, Dori Schmelzer, and Kristin Andelin came to test the students. Each child is tutored at their own level, and progress will be measured.

B5 was able to use funds available to support Afghan refugees to hire two women, Omkalthom Abaker and Shamela Nawabi, who have attended B5’s adult English classes. After receiving Team Read training, they work daily with students. In addition, Albachar Zakaria will help organize the program. B5 volunteer Trudi Scheele had already been volunteering for Team Read at Edison Elementary. Now she tutors at B5 too.

CRFMC Educational Programs Director Erin Lee told us, ”It has been a very rewarding experience to work with B5 and to think outside the box utilizing CRFMC’s Team Read program to help B5 families in their literacy journeys.”