HOW YOU CAN HELP: MTR Reads: Impacting 3rd Grade Literacy

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Tuesday and Thursday afternoons on the third grade hall at Sherwood Elementary are surprisingly quiet, given the presence of 50 students and 40 volunteers gathered in five classrooms. The quiet comes from the diligent pairs huddled on colorful carpets and in small desks, working with flashcards and manipulatives to learn the Fry sight words.

Fry words are the 1000 most common words in the English language. Sherwood third graders are mastering as many sight words as possible during this crucial year of learning in order to “read to learn” for the rest of their school career.

Semester assessments showed that students are indeed mastering these words! Thanks to the incredible grit and determination of the students, and the dedication and commitment of more than 70 total volunteers, MTR Reads participants learned an average of 183 new words during the fall semester! This is incredible progress! Each 100 word list roughly equates to one grade level, therefore, many of our students grew between one and two grade levels in sight word recognition and, by association, their decoding abilities and vocabulary skills have increased as well.

This success is not be possible without the selfless giving of time by our community volunteers. Research has shown that students who can’t read proficiently by the end of third grade are more than four times as likely to drop out of high school as their peers – so our volunteers are directly impacting students’ futures. If you would like to be a part of the spring semester of MTRReads, sign up here or emailerin.myers@memphistr.org.