CLEVELAND – Reading and literacy scores in schools is something every community wants to improve. Now, several communities are using a program to take action.

WKYC helped to spearhead “Slavic Village Reads” last year and the program was so successful, that leaders in the Hough neighborhood reached out to do the same.

In the year of working with the program in Slavic Village, all five of the K through 3rd grade literacy scores went up by one to two grade levels. That’s the progress that “Hough Reads” is hoping to duplicate.

Madison Reid is a 7th grade, ball of energy that volunteered to be an ambassador to the program in the Hough neighborhood and has been reading to students at places like Wade Park School.

“They love when I read to them. They are just drinking it up, taking every word that I’ve giving them and sucking it up. It melts my heart, but in a good way. In a really good way,” says Madison.

The “Hough Reads” program is using Little Free Libraries and a commitment to monthly literacy events to get kids excited about reading.

Little Free Libraries work like a mailbox with books. Kids take a book out and leave one of their own, so that books are recycled and shared around the community.

Rhonda Crowder is the “Hough Reads” Coordinator and helped to organize a book donation by the United Black Christians greater Cleveland chapter. Crowder says, “They are excited about the opportunity to receive books and to take books home. For a lot of our children, they don’t have books in their home.”

Crowder sees the importance of reading for the youth in the Hough community as a vital skill that success is dependent upon.

“You can’t do anything else without a foundation in reading. You can’t do math, you can’t do science. You won’t get very far if you don’t know how to read,” says Crowder.

If you’d like to donate books or help out, you can call the United Black Christians greater Cleveland chapter at 216-231-4402.