Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Community helps kids read

To the editor:

The purpose of this letter is to thank the many community volunteers, businesses and service organizations who promote reading as a positive experience for children in Baker County. In the Read Everyday And Learn (REAL) program, 45 volunteers read with almost 170 students from first through sixth grades in four schools every week. Volunteers also read with students who need extra help with their reading in the afterschool programs. Students get to pick out a book to keep four times per year. Last summer, for the first time, volunteers read with children twice per week during the YMCA free summer lunch program. Additionally, volunteers provided at least three months of tutoring to five people who wanted to improve their reading skills.

The Baker County Community Literacy Coalition (BCCLC) has promoted literacy in Baker County since 2001. The BCCLC sponsors the REAL program, an expanded version of the K-3 SMART reading program.

We are very grateful to the Lions Club, Community Bank, AAUW, YMCA, Chaves Consulting, Guyer and Associates, Eastern Oregon Medical Associates, Baker City Herald, Leo Adler, and D.E. and Jane Clark for their generous financial support. Several businesses allowed their employees to read with the children at school during work hours. We also appreciate the contributions of individual donors who help us sustain our program. The Baker Library provides office space and a place to store our books. We also want to thank all the teacher and school district staff who work with us to make the reading program operate as smoothly as possible.

Strong reading and comprehension skills are needed to be successful in life. Without the volunteers and financial support from the community we would not be able to run our successful program and serve so many children. This is a great example of a community in action working toward a common goal!

Jim Tomlinson

Literacy Coordinator, Baker City