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Team Read Program

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KENNEWICK, WA. -- A reading program started 12 years ago in Kennewick with just a handful of students and tutors at a single elementary school. Claire Graham took a closer look at the success Team Read has become.

The Team Read program at the Children's Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia began at Lincoln Elementary. It's purpose is to help first, second and third graders, struggling to read at their grade level, improve reading and comprehension.

Lori Aronson, the project director described the importance of Team Read. She said, "up until 3rd grade they learn to read, after 3rd grade they read to learn, and many of our students, if they're struggling in 3rd grade, they're not able to keep up in 4th 5th, middle school, high school."

Today, the program spans 6 elementary schools in the district. It's made up of a network of 150 volunteer tutors, and over 250 students.

Jackie Blum, who's been a Team Read tutor for 5 years, said, "when you start with them everything is a struggle... But then all of a sudden they get it and there's just that sparkle in their eyes."

Students and their tutors meet a few times a week for half an hour sessions. They play games to recognize "sight" words, read booklets of structured learning exercises, and then spend time reading, together, a book they've chosen.

But the program isn't just a chance for the students to improve their read skills, it's a chance for the tutors to make a difference.

Kennewick High School students also participate in Team Read. Their school offers a class where they can tutor children four days a week. Then, one day a week, they get to reflect on the progress of their students along with what they've learned themselves.

Yennifer Guzman is a sophomore at Kennewick High School. This is her first year doing the Team Read program, and says she's grown from the experience. She told us, "I've actually learned how to help kids in their reading, I feel more comfortable around people. I just love being around kids."

Kennewick School District funds the program, providing books and materials. But they're always looking for volunteers, it's an opportunity to change a child's life. Aronson said, "Anybody can do this, we provide all of the training, there's no cost to the tutor except for their time, this is a program that really needs your help."

One of the students in the program at Hawthorne Elementary told us how much she liked team read, "it's fun and I get to read and I like it" she said. 

For more information about how to become a volunteer, you can call, click or email

Team Read

201 S Garfield St., Room 13

Kennewick, WA 99336

(509) 222-7324