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Education Station: An update on Miss Jasinsky's class at Cleveland's Charles Dickens Elementary School

We catch up with dedicated teachers and volunteers helping Charles Dickens students use after-school tutoring and unique activities to pass the state reading test

CLEVELAND — The students at Charles Dickens Elementary School are gaining momentum in their quest to pass the state reading assessment. 3News partnered with the school to help 3rd graders, after finding out none of them passed the state reading test the year before the pandemic hit.

In the seven weeks since we last checked on 9-year-old Dwone - one of our two featured 3rd grade students - his reading has improved substantially.

"Being at home during the pandemic, they haven’t had a whole lot of stamina, as far as reading. There is a lot of ground to make up," says Brittany Jasinsky - or "Miss J" - 3rd grade Dickens teacher.

After hearing about the students' state assessment struggles, 3News helped the school create an after-school tutoring program called Dickens Reads. Miss J leads the charge, making sure students and volunteers show up, and have all the reading and game materials they need.

"I have a lot of my students that go to Dickens Reads, so they’re definitely getting the help there as well. They read, write, play educational games - it's all for them. All for them to learn and develop a love of learning and reading," says Jasinsky.

And progress can already be seen in just the 3rd week of the program, thanks to dedicated volunteers like Dawn Hannon.

"I’m raring to go for the whole school year. It feels great to me. I enjoy coming here and I look forward to it. The kids are great. This is needed. Everyone should be able to read," says Hannon.

3News' January Keaton will be following Miss J's class all school year. She read with a couple of Dickens Reads students this week, as they breezed through Dr. Suess with ease. Miss J says unique activities like pen-pal writing to students in other states has also been helping students improve their reading.

"They have to read their writing, and they have to read writing from another 3rd grader. I was so amazed when they wrote back that they wrote so much, because they wanted to respond to every single question," says Jasinsky.

The pen-pal writing has been a major boost to student's spelling, reading and confidence.

"They don't even realize they're learning. That's the thing. You have find something that interests them and tap into it. It's helps make them comfortable with reading and writing before they go to 4th grade," says Jasinsky.

Miss J’s class took the state reading assessment for Fall a little over a month ago. They won’t know the results until some time in the Spring.

"I think they're doing better. Their confidence in reading, like when they were reading to the whole class, they really struggled to do that in the beginning. Now they're more confident. I want them to jump up and down and say 'I wanna read! I wanna read!' I want them to argue about it. We will get them there," says Jasinsky.

It’s not too late to volunteer to read to the kids for Dickens Reads, of which 3News is a proud sponsor. If interested, email MBernstei@WKYC.com.

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