(Guest View by Jack Aronson, May 13, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – What must the world look like to our youth that can’t read? Would it be in technicolor with hope and success as its main theme, or grey tones with no hope of using their potential in the future? If you can’t read, the future will certainly be bleak.
Today our youth are in crisis and need our help. An alarming number of Metro Detroit-area high school students struggle with grade level-appropriate reading and developing solid reading comprehension skills. Our Michigan schools have a dismal record, and therefore so do our students. If you can’t read proficiently by 4th grade the challenges increase tenfold. So many of our students are being left behind, never to realize their true potential.
It is imperative that we get parents, civic leader, business leaders and others involved. This is the reason for my letter to you.
As a lifelong resident of Ferndale and proud alum of Ferndale High School, I and my wife Annette are committed to helping our community’s children achieve a better future. As part of that commitment, we both have been working closely with Ferndale Schools Superintendent Blake Prewitt to create a plan to implement an impactful reading intervention program called READ 180. This vital program is scheduled for the school year starting September 2016 to June 2017. We are calling the initiative “Ferndale Read to Succeed.” Our endeavors have been successful this school year, tutoring over 50 students (we have room for 100) in reading proficiency, and helping them reach grade level. In an effort to jump-start the program, Annette and I have personally pledged $100,000. We are looking for community support to continue this program for years to come.
The cost for implementation at Ferndale High School, included a reading specialist, a classroom assistant, 20 computer stations and the READ 180 software license is $200,000. Currently government, grant and foundation funds are unavailable, which is why I am asking you, my fellow local business owners to contribute what you can to supplement the remaining $100,000.
A little about READ 180: It is the leading intervention tool designed to raise achievement for struggling adolescent readers. Developed at Vanderbilt University, READ 180 is proven to be an effective reading tool that blends reading comprehension, academic vocabulary and writing skills for students grade four and up. From a technical standpoint, READ 180 software uses student performance data to individualize and differentiate the path of computerized reading instruction.
With your help as a local business owner we can support the students who need additional academic assistance now and in the future. Your contribution will put technicolor into the lives of deserving youth in our community and beyond. These are our future leaders, business owners and parents who will continue good reading habits.
Please contact Carol Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to make a donation. Your contribution at any amount will be greatly appreciated. .
Annette and I send our profound thanks for your support.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This project began in 2016. Check out a story in Oakland County Times (then called Oakland County 115) at https://oaklandcounty115.com/2016/09/11/ferndale-businessperson-funds-reading-program-calls-for-matching-support/