Roanoke leaders create reading program to increase literacy rates for elementary students and reduce crime


ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke Gun Violence Prevention Commission has partnered with a local elementary school to encourage students to read while preventing violence in future generations.

“One of the things we’ve really learned that’s had a big impact is that kids who don’t read at their grade level at the start of primary school are much more likely to end up in the system. prison and commit violent crimes. And it seemed like there was a relatively easy solution,” said organizer and gun violence prevention commissioner Rabbi Kathy Cohen.

The fix? A reading program at Lincoln Terrace Elementary School. Once a week, students meet individually with a volunteer and spend their lunch time reading.

“So Rabbi Cohen reached out to me, I was very excited about the partnership, so I’m glad she made it possible for our students to read with volunteers,” Principal John Otey said.

It’s been two weeks since the program started and the volunteers are already noticing a difference.

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“They like to find a word or two on the page they know. They learn new vocabulary words,” Rabbi Cohen said. “The books that teachers and reading specialists have chosen here are so interesting and so much fun.”

The program is always looking for volunteers to help shape the minds of the next generation.

“To be able to develop the future of the company. These students will then be our leaders later,” Otey said. “We don’t want them to have difficulty reading. Let’s not let that be the obstacle.

Research shows that increasing literacy rates at a young age helps prevent and reduce crime, which is exactly what this program aims to do.

“This success gives them hope. And that hope gives them the ability to do some really amazing things with their potential,” Cohen said.

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