READING INITIATIVE: The annual United Way program is starting up soon and they need volunteers

Local News

MONROE, LA (08/21/19)–Reading is a key aspect of life. Without that skill finding a job, living day to day and finishing school can be very difficult. The “READ, LEARN, SUCCEED” program has been around since 2012. This is an education process that starts for second and third graders. However, many students struggle with reading in school.

“We just want to make sure they have a foundation, and a foundation starts with reading,” said Michelle Saucer, Community Impact Initiative Director at United Way NELA.

(see bottom for partnered schools and how to become a volunteer)

The reading initiative program is put on by United Way of Northeast Louisiana .Volunteers read one-on-one with second and third graders for thirty minutes, once a week.

“Benchmark students are reading at or above level, intensive students are below level and sometimes need professional interventions. So we’re working with the bubble students in the middle, the strategic students,” said Saucer.

Studies show that children who are not strong readers by the end of third grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of high school.

“Up until grade 3 they are learning to read. So in fourth grade, that’s when they start reading to learn. Those early literally skills are critical,” said Lakeisha Bosworth, Volunteer/ Youth Service coordinator at Ouachita Parish Public Library.

In addition, acting out can be a cover up for the real problem.

“Some kids fell frustrated when they don’t learn how to read, so that effects them in behavioral areas in the classroom,” said Bosworth.

With there being 14 schools partnering in the program, there is a need for volunteers. You can be a reader by yourself, have a partner, or team to rotate weeks.

“The value that your gaining, not only being a participant reading with the students, but you know that your making a difference with them as well,” said Bosworth.

United way says it’s never too early to start reading and it’s never too late to volunteer. The program will start the last week of October and will end the first week in may.

Schools partnered with READ, LEARN, SUCCEED:

Monroe City Schools – Barkdull Faulk, Berg Jones, Carver, Clara Hall, Jefferson, Madison James Foster, Minnie Ruffin

Ouachita Parish Schools – Lenwil, Robinson, Shady Grove, Swayze

Lincoln Parish Schools – Hillcrest, Lincoln Preparatory School

Union Parish Schools – Union Parish Elementary 

How to become a volunteer:

  • Register online at or call  2-1-1.  
  • Attend a 30 minute training.
  • Complete a free background check form.

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