Caring Grands reads with Sapulpa students

Tutoring program serving Sapulpa students
Posted on 01/30/2019
Caring Grand Jackie Dunn reads with a student(SPS) - More than 400,000 Oklahomans are functionally illiterate and 17 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 in Creek County do not have a high school diploma.

Those statistics are according to the Creek County Literacy Program website. They are numbers CCLP is working to decrease, and one of the ways they’re doing that is by reading with elementary students.

Each of our four elementary schools benefits from CCLP’s Caring Grands tutoring program.

“Basically, what we do as a Caring Grand is act just like a grandma or grandpa and come and sit down with kids one on one once a week for 30 minutes and we practice their sight words. We practice reading and we try to make it fun for them,” said retiree Jackie Dunn.

Dunn is one of the five tutors working as a Caring Grand helping 15 students at Jefferson Heights Elementary.

“I retired about five years ago and I look forward to this every week,” said Dunn. “My first rule is if it’s not fun for me, it’s probably not going to be fun for them so I try to think up games and help them read better and certainly remember those sight words.”

She and the others must be doing a great job of making it enjoyable. Jefferson Heights more than doubled its number of Caring Grands from last year to accommodate the students taking advantage of the extra reading time.

“The kids love it,” said principal Bridget Hailey. “The kids just like knowing that there’s somebody else that cares about them and that there is another adult that they can rely on.”

Not only do they love it, but the students are showing progress too.

“We are seeing a lot of them test out at the end of the year because they’ve made all the gains they needed to make in order to be successful in their regular classroom,” said Hailey.

“It has made a lot of difference.”

The schools look at data to determine which students qualify for the program. The students are then chosen based on greatest need. If you believe your child could benefit from spending time with a Caring Grand, contact his or her school.

As for the Caring Grands, they are trained by a reading specialist before they’re sent out to the schools. If you’re interested in participating in the program you can call them at (918) 224-9647.

You only have look to Dunn to realize how gratifying it is to volunteer. She does it year-round, even in the summer.

“It is extremely rewarding. And you know, from year to year, the kids will recognize me in the hallway and run up to me and say, ‘Hi, Miss Jackie,’ and I’m just amazed that they remember my name but I’m hoping they remembered all their sight words too!”

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