History of Utah Reads
The America Reads Challenge began in 1997 when research showed that 40% of America's fourth graders were not reading at their expected grade level. Reading proficiency at this age is critical if children are to master increasingly demanding academic subjects in later grades. Children who do not read early and read well are held back at the start of their education and perhaps for the rest of their lives. This will be an even greater challenge as we move into the high-skill workplaces of the 21st century.
To address the problem, President Clinton and Congress passed the America Reads Challenge. The goal of this initiative is to ensure that every American child can read well and independently by the end of the third grade. While working as tutors in local elementary schools, Federal Work-Study recipients receive valuable work experience and insight into community needs, while children receive the extra help they so desperately need. The initiative pays 100% of the college student's wages, so there is no financial burden to the school.
The national America Reads program as part of the U.S. Department of Education was disbanded several years ago several years ago when new administration came into our nation's capital. However, programs are still running strong across the country.
Utah Reads Program at the U
The University of Utah is one of over 1,100 institutions of higher education to participate in the America Reads challenge, including Salt Lake Community College and Westminster College.
In 2010, the America Reads program at the University of Utah adopted a new look with a new logo and mission statement. The new look of the program was intended to link the program more clearly to its home, the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center at the University of Utah.
In 2015, the Utah America Reads program changed its name to Utah Reads to more accurately reflect the population the program serves. Now, the mission of the Utah Reads program is to provide effective, quality tutoring in literacy and mathematics to the elementary aged students of our community partners. To do so, the Utah Reads program seeks to provide comprehensive tutor training, develop the skills of our leadership, and foster mutually beneficial community partnerships.