North Dakota Reading Corps Receives Federal Funding To Expand Program To Bismarck, Mandan

North Dakota Reading Corps (NDRC) received its first-ever competitive AmeriCorps award providing almost $190,000 in federal support for its current programming in Fargo, West Fargo and Jamestown, plus expansion into Bismarck and Mandan for the 2014-2015 school year.

NDRC combines the people power of AmeriCorps with the science of how children learn to read and has been working to improve literacy skills for children PreK-3rd grade. More than 40 AmeriCorps volunteers will be trained by literacy coaches to tutor students in 32 elementary schools and four PreK sites.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp has been a supporter of the program since it began and continues to share her positive view of the program, “Last fall, I joined students in our state participating in Reading Corps , and I saw firsthand how successful this program is a giving our students an opportunity to become excellent readers and setting them on the right path forward at a young age,” she said.

Students in the NDRC program are below grade-level reading, but not low enough to qualify for supplemental reading services provided by school staff. AmeriCorps members use evidence-based literacy interventions designed to provide additional practice that is supplemental to the school’s core reading instruction. NDRC has a high emphasis on data collection and student assessment to ensure the interventions are fulfilling student needs and accomplishing reading goals.

During the 2012-13 school year, 22 AmeriCorps members served 421 elementary students. Results revealed 89% or 374 out of 421 students that participated in NDRC achieved grade-level reading proficiency.

NDRC is supported through AmeriCorps; Fargo, Jamestown, and West Fargo school districts; the South East Education Cooperative; and the United Way of Cass-Clay. NDRC AmeriCorps members work part-time in exchange for a monthly living stipend and an education award that can be used for qualified student loans, tuition or, if member is 55+, it can be gifted to a child or grandchild.

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