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More volunteers needed for Dickens Reads tutoring program

The afterschool sessions at WKYC Studios' "adopted school" have been taking place since October and all students are showing some reading improvement

CLEVELAND — Volunteers truly are the key to success for Dickens Reads, the afterschool tutoring program at Charles Dickens School in Cleveland's Mount Pleasant neighborhood.

About a dozen loyal volunteers show up twice a week at the school to help 2nd and 3rd graders with reading, spelling and comprehension. The 90-minute Dickens Reads sessions have been taking place since October, and all students are showing some reading improvement.

The program is spearheaded by WKYC Studios as part of its “Education Station” campaign, and is coordinated by local media consultant Rhonda Crowder.

“Honestly, it’s some of the most rewarding hours of my week,” says Abe Orabi, a Dickens Reads volunteer. “When I heard the story on Channel 3, I just felt like it would be a really sad thing for kids to go through their elementary school years without knowing how much joy reading can bring.”

The tutoring curriculum was designed by reading intervention specialist Amanda McNamara Lowe, owner of the Stretch & Catch Reading Center. Brought aboard Dickens Reads this year, Lowe assesses each student's reading ability, and structures the program to fit their individual needs.

And, yes, more volunteers are needed. The hope is to eventually provide each student with his or her own tutor. We want to keep the kids' momentum going!

To learn more about how you can help, please send an email to Margaret Bernstein, WKYC Studios director of advocacy & community initiatives, at mbernstein@wkyc.com

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