Sorority focuses on helping kids read

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 7, 2000

Features Editor

Sept. 6, 2000 10 PM

"Reading is the key" and the members of Chi Omega Sorority at Troy State University are committed to helping the students at Pike County Elementary School discover that "key."

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The 85 members of Chi Omega have each pledged three hours of their time during the first semester to visiting the school and reading to the children.

"A large number of our members are education majors and they will dedicate more than three hours to reading to the students," said Katy Peel, recruitment chairperson. "At the end of the semester, we should have dedicated more than 450 hours to the reading program at Pike County Elementary School."

Peel said the sorority was looking for a way to be involved in the community and they learned that the elementary school in Brundidge could benefit from their efforts.

"I came down here and just fell in love with the school," Peel said. "We are so excited to be a part of the reading program and we hope that the students will enjoy us as much as we will enjoy them."

A representative group from the sorority visited the school Wednesday and brought pencils and paper for the students.

"These are things that they need and we wanted to help with these needs but paper and pencils are the little things," Peel said. "The main thing is reading and we are looking forward being with them and reading to them."

Wendy Watson, reading specialist with the Alabama Reading Initiative at PCES, said the goal of the reading initiative is literacy for all.

She expressed appreciation to Chi Omega sorority for their efforts to help make this goal a reality at PCES.

Watson said the statewide challenge is that 97,547 students in grades 3-11 score at the lowest levels on the Stanford Achievement Test and cannot read.

"Without increased efforts, 10 to 40 percent of Alabama’s school children will have difficulty learning to read and will fall further and further behind," Watson said.

The solution to the reading crisis situation has many facets, one of which is to involve colleges of teacher education as trainers and mentors to the schools.

And that is what is happening through the sorority’s involvement in and support of the reading program at PCES, Watson said.

By helping the students at PCES learn to utilize the "key," the members of Chi Omega will help those students unlock the doors to a world of knowledge, adventure and entertainment through reading.