Working with students, one on one, is the heart of the READ NOW program. Our methodology is based on the reality that silent reading is a procedural memory skill, like riding a bicycle. By reading a given text aloud to a student, and giving the student a chance to effectively read it silently, the neural network that makes silent reading possible is built up. The tutor is also there to help the student recognize mistakes, because a trial and error approach with repeated, sustained effort, can rapidly improve the student’s reading skill. Our data shows that this methodology produces an average reading improvement rate of 1 grade level for about every three sessions. This has proven to be true when the student and tutor meet in person or via telephone tutoring in tandem with the SILENT READING TEACHER application.
One of READ NOW’s activities in 2019 was to participate in the Austin Independent School District’s Resource Fair held at the AISD Performing Arts Center. Our purpose there was to disseminate information to the Austin community about our agency and mission and to recruit volunteer tutors. We were also able to network with other nonprofit organizations.
On more than one occasion, READ NOW also participated in Austin Public Library Community Fairs where we were again able to share information, network with other agencies and recruit volunteers.
In 2018 and 2019 READ NOW has done fundraising at our local Barnes and Noble by providing gift wrapping for customers for six days during the holiday season. Barnes and Noble welcome us because they support our mission to help increase literacy in our community. They provide the paper and tape; we provide the ribbons and labor. As we wrap the gifts we share our literature and mission and have also recruited several volunteer tutors. This has been our only fundraising activity up till now. With our new website we are now able to receive on line donations that are tax deductible through the link on the site.