The National AmericaReads Initiative

On August 27, 1996 President Clinton announced the "AmericaReads" initiative. The goal of this campaign is to ensure that every child can read well and independently by the end of the third grade. To achieve this goal, the President called for a substantial increase in the number of tutors and mentors available to young children.

Forty percent of all children are now reading below the accepted level on national reading assessments. Children who do not read early and read well are held back at the start of their education - and for the rest of their lives. 

The AmericaReads Challenge strives to get every American to explore the roles he or she can play in improving the reading skills of our young children. People can help both personally and professionally. Parents can instill a love of reading by reading with their children everyday. Individuals can volunteer to tutor with a local literacy program. College students can work as tutors in local elementary schools and day-care programs.  Teachers, principals and librarians can strengthen children's reading skills by offering after-school, summer and weekend literacy programs. Local businesses can provide both volunteers and financial support to local literacy programs. National service programs are uniquely positioned to support all of these efforts. 

AmericaReads at the University of Delaware
The AmericaReads program was officially established at the University of Delaware in February 2002.  The program was created upon the existing foundation of a work study program on campus and later found its permanent home as part of the Delaware Center for Teacher Education (DCTE). Both Delaware Lt. Governor John Carney and Deputy Secretary of Education Nancy Wilson were present to kick off the program at the University of Delaware.

Today, AmericaReads is a literacy tutoring program that serves five elementary schools in New Castle County.   Sites are chosen based on the needs of the schools as well as proximity to the University.  Currently the program serves McVey Elementary, Maclary Elementary, Downes Elementary, Brookside Elementary and The College School on the University of Delaware campus. 

AmericaReads is open to students who are work-study eligible and to volunteers.  Before a tutor enters a classroom, AmericaReads provides training on how to deliver reading instruction, how to prepare for students with different reading and writing levels, and how to create a lesson plan for each tutoring session.  Tutors meet with their student(s) once or twice a week in thirty-minute sessions.  Typically a volunteer is asked to work a minimum of 30 minutes once a week, while a work study student is asked to work at least 2 hours, twice a week.  Scheduling is very flexible and is tailored to fit the needs and schedules of each individual tutor.  Available times for tutoring are between 8:30-3:00 approximately.  The tutors must record the events of each session and work in conjunction with the teachers to provide appropriate and productive activities.  A Program Coordinator offers tutor training, resources, and guidance during the tutor’s employment.  The Coordinator also performs evaluations of both the tutors and the tutoring sites to ensure a quality AmericaReads program. 

The AmericaReads program at the University of Delaware is always looking for new tutors to help increase the number of students served, improve students’ test scores, foster community involvement, and provide greater tutor resources and student encouragement. 

AmericaReads Challenge at the University of Delaware
The University of Delaware supports the AmericaReads Challenge by offering the AmericReads program as a part of their Federal Work Study Programs.  College students who are receiving Work Study funds as part of their financial aid package can be paid to work as tutors with local elementary school students.  College students who are not eligible for Work Study funds are also encouraged to serve as volunteers with this program.