“United Way helps me in my role as a teacher.”

Ms. Cooper at Glenwood Elementary School in Waukegan has participated in United Way of Lake County’s Reading Success program for the last three years. Reading Success brings volunteers into Waukegan schools to help early elementary students build literacy skills so they can read at grade level.

Each week a Reading Success volunteer works with two of Ms. Cooper’s students who are reading below grade level. The volunteer provides one-on-one attention to help the student develop strong reading skills and improve reading performance so they can be on track to succeed in school. “Many students are below grade level in their reading skills because of the pandemic and because many missed school virtually.” Overall the district has seen a decrease in student performance in reading compared to the progress students were making prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Cooper continues to partner with Reading Success each year because of the benefits it brings to her students. “I have seen great gains in the students. They are more confident and comfortable in their reading skills.” Over the last few years, Ms. Cooper has had students advance in their reading skills so quickly, that she is able to transition them out of the tutoring program mid-year and is then able to offer Reading Success to more students in need in her class.

“Many of our students at Glenwood do not get help to read at home.” The one-on-one attention makes students feel special. “My students look forward to their time with their Reading Success tutor. It is a highlight of their week.”

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