"The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the farther you'll go," chimed students in Pontiac and Rochester during two "Magic of Reading" programs. Baffling Bill the Magician demonstrated the importance of early literacy as he treated Oakland County elementary students to tricks, illusions and educational fun in celebration of March Is Reading Month. Sponsored by Assistance League® of Southeastern Michigan's One-2-One Tutoring program, the "Magic of Reading" assemblies included audience participation, oohs and ahhs of amazement, and engaged imaginations to emphasize the importance of reading skills for student success.
Presentations were held at Whitmer Human Resource Center Elementary School (WHRC) in Pontiac and at McGregor Elementary School in Rochester. More than 700 students learned about the wonderful things that result from mastering reading skills and learning more about the world.
Assistance League volunteers work during the school year as One-2-One tutors, providing weekly classroom and individual support to improve literacy skills for early learners. There are 11 voluntary One-2-One tutors at WHRC and 10 voluntary tutors at McGregor. These services are provided to schools, teachers and students free of charge through Assistance League.
"Experts agree that early literacy skills are critical to student success," said Sue Hannant, chair of the One-2-One Tutoring program that provides nearly 150 local children with free weekly personal reading support. "We know that reading skills are foundational for all other learning. Strong readers have better self-esteem, are more motivated, are more likely to be life-long learners, and have a better chance for academic and occupational success," Hannant said.
Assistance League recognizes that children raised in poverty, children with limited proficiency in English, children with speech and hearing impairments, and children from homes where the parent's reading levels are low are at increased risk of reading difficulty. Since its formation in 1996, the One-2-One program has improved literacy for 1,843 children in Southeastern Michigan. In addition to personal tutoring, Assistance League also provides free books to students, and their Link to Creative Teaching program awards funding to teachers for special classroom enrichment projects.