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New program coming to Kershaw County School District to ensure students are reading at grade level

The program comes after students spent time out of school during the pandemic

KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — A new program is coming to the Kershaw County School District to make sure students are reading at their grade level. 

It all comes from a partnership with United Way of Kershaw County,  AmeriCorp, and the Kershaw County School District to create a "Ready Readers" program, the program is to make sure those in elementary school are reading at their grade level. 

Shanna Redfern is the director of the soon-to-launch program. "It's an exciting new program geared at addressing those issues that have come up for students regarding their reading levels from COVID, from their time out of the classroom," Redfern says.  

"We are specifically targeting our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-grade populations trying to make sure we have those readers on grade level because we know if we have them on grade reading level that can have a huge impact on literacy and thus on our whole community," Redfern says. "Students who are struggling to read what we know is they need time reading with someone, there's a lot of wonderful things that can happen on the computer but it just can't take the place of a person reading with a student."

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Dan Matthews, the school district's Chief Academic Officer, says, "Early literacy is an essential foundation to all future academic success, anything we can do to assist students in mastering this skill set will only help brighten their future."

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He adds the district knew it was a program that was needed after looking over standardized test scores and Measures of Academic Process (MAP) data. 

Redfern adds the program is expected to kick off in three schools on September 14th and in all elementary schools by January, but they need volunteers. They currently have 20 but need around 300. 

"These are folks in the community who are just interested in making a difference and have an hour a week to give, they will go through an application process, background screening with the school district and then they trained," Redfern says. 

In order to help, United Way asks those wanting to volunteer to call their officers to begin the process at 803.432.0951.

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