The America Reads program began in 1996 with a reading initiative proposed by President Clinton. The initiative was introduced to assist every child in the process of learning to read by the third grade. It was created as a way to increase the fundamental skills of reading in elementary students through forming a partnership with colleges and universities throughout the country. More than 1,400 colleges and universities currently participate in the ARAC program today. The "America Reads Challenge," is mobilizing resources to ensure that all children can read independently by the end of the third grade. Over one thousand institutions have joined the "‘America Reads Challenge"’ by committing Federal Work Study students to tutor young children in reading.
A diverse array of institutions, representing all types of students, made the commitment to tutor children in their communities (Federal Register, Vol 63, No 190, 1998). Due to the success of the America Reads Challenge, America Counts was initiated in July 1999 as an effort to improve student achievement in mathematics and assist students in mastering challenging mathematics by the end of the 9th grade.
At Illinois State University we hire enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students to provide reading and/or math assistance for Kindergarten through 9th grade students. Locations include local schools, public libraries, the Illinois State University campus, after-school programs, and community centers.
“ISU has a focus on civic engagement. The community benefits from the service, but ISU students get multiple benefits: Federal Work-Study dollars; experience of working with kids, especially if they’re going into teaching; and graduating students get help by boosting their resumes. This is making an impact on someone’s life, and it started with not more than 20 tutors.” -Bridget Curl
“Parents with limited English or no English language skills reach out to the program for assistance. Our tutors assist parents when completing enrollment forms, etc. All enrollment forms are available in Spanish, and ISU bilingual students are in great demand.” -Lyn Morris
Undergraduate and Graduate Students seeking employment: Positions for tutors and graduate assistants are periodically posted on-line at IllinoisState.edu/jobs. You can also contact the ISU Financial Aid Office at (309) 438-2231 or FinancialAid@IllinoisState.edu, or the America Reads Office (see below). Eligibility requirements must be met.
Instructors, principals, or directors seeking tutors for classrooms during or after school: Please contact the America Reads/Counts Office at (309) 438-3421 or AmericaReads@IllinoisState.edu.
Parents seeking tutors for individualized instruction after-school or during the Summer Session: Please contact the America Reads/Counts Office at (309) 438-3421 or AmericaReads@IllinoisState.edu.