From the Manchester College Archives

News Release


MC tutors give youngsters

entire grade boost in reading scores

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. (Feb. 9, 2004) - Elementary school students from around the area are getting a boost in their reading skills from Manchester College's Indiana Reading Corps.  The program, in its seventh year at the college, matches elementary school pupils one-on-one with Manchester College student tutors. This year, more than 110 Manchester students are tutoring more than 120 children in four elementary schools in three counties.

The results are remarkable: Almost all students tutored gained at least one grade level in their reading skills, and some bounded up two grades. Participating schools are Manchester Elementary School, Sharpe Creek Elementary School in Wabash, Akron Elementary School and Eisenhower Elementary School in Warsaw.

"I'm very pleased with the program," said Brett Boggs, Akron Elementary School principal. "We've had at least 20 students each semester who have had reading coaches and some semesters more than that. It's been very beneficial to us."

The college's Reading Corps expanded this year to provide tutoring at  Learn More Center in North Manchester - for the center and for an after school daycare at the center. The tutors also work with First Brethren Church in Roann and the college is hoping to expand into more schools, said Carole Miller, Manchester College Reading Corps coordinator.

Thirty more tutors await placement for a total of 150 Manchester College students working with Indiana Reading Corps as reading coaches. "This is the highest number of student reading tutors we've ever had," said Stuart D. Jones, director of Career Services. "This is great; it means we can make an even bigger impact on community children."

Participating students in grades 1-5 meet with their reading coaches for a minimum of two half-hour sessions each week. Manchester College tutors are paired with their young pupils based on schedules, specific requests from teachers, and availability to travel.

The Indiana Reading Corps, an AmeriCorps program of Indiana Campus Compact, responds to former President Clinton's America Reads Challenge that children should read well and independently by the end of third grade.  All of the Manchester College tutors are trained by the Reading Corps tutoring model, which is designed to improve students' reading comprehension, class participation and perceptions of themselves as readers. Tutors use children's books and create lesson plans to ensure the children comprehend the material.

To record children's progress, a Basic Reading Inventory test is conducted at the beginning of the year, mid-way through the year and again at the end of the coaching year. Last year's scores revealed that 90 percent of the elementary students increased at least one reading level after tutoring. No child regressed or lost reading ability and some students improved two reading levels, Jones said

"Academically, improvements in student achievement are difficult to attach to any one specific reason," Principal Boggs said. "Indiana Reading Corps is one of several interventions we have in place for our kids. We really are focused in trying to improve our reading skills and we're seeing gradual improvement."

Manchester College provides a liberal arts education to 1,170 students from 29 states and 33 countries.  Located in North Manchester, Ind., it is a Church of the Brethren college with a mission statement that emphasizes service to others and responsible citizenship.





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