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    Superintendent Joins Team Read Students to Celebrate Summer Readers
    Posted on 07/18/2019
    The superintendent reads to a group of students in a classroom.

    Superintendent Joins Team Read Students to Celebrate Summer Readers

    On Monday, July 15, Superintendent Juneau surprised students in the Dunlap Elementary School library by arriving in a superhero cape, supporting the district’s Seattle Super Readers initiative. The superintendent read Thank you, Omu to a group of elementary students participating in the mentor-based Team Read program and encouraged them to keep reading through the summer.

    Elementary students, joined by their high school mentors, excitedly asked the superintendent about her cape. Superintendent Juneau explained that they too could build superpowers by reading every day.

    Students listen as Superintendent Juneau reads them a story in a classroom“Reading isn’t about inherent ability,” Melissa Pailthorp, executive director of Team Read, a non-profit that works with Seattle Public Schools to pair struggling readers with trained teen reading coaches, said. “It’s about training your brain and practice. I’m glad that [Superintendent Juneau] is really focused on that.”

    literacy is a priority of the district’s new strategic plan, which is laser-focused on supporting students furthest away from educational justice, beginning with African American males. Programs like Team Read closely align with the Seattle Super Readers initiative’s primary goal —100 percent of students reading well by third grade.

    “It’s really great that Superintendent Juneau is focused on reading and literacy issues,” Pailthorp said. “I think that will make a big, big difference and send everyone the message that every kid really deserves to be a great reader.”

    Research shows that daily reading—just 20 minutes per day—can help prepare students for success. But for student Karla, a second-grader at Van Asselt Elementary school, reading is just more fun now.

    “I like the funny things in the books,” Karla said of what she enjoys most about the Team Read program. “Sometimes when we read, [the mentors] do funny voices.”

    Staff and high-school mentors working with Team Read see the impact reading has on their students every day.

    “I like giving students a better chance at education and boosting their knowledge,” Edgar Santos Perez, Team Read site assistant and Rainier Beach High School junior, said. “I think that helping a student get better at reading helps them achieve other things.”

    A team read volunteer works with a student at a table in a classroomIbijoke Idowu has been working with Team Read since she was in high school. Now, she’s the organization’s summer site coordinator and a student teacher at Emerson Elementary School. Even for students in the program for a few weeks, she’s seen a big impact.

    “Even for students in the program for 20 days, it’s good to see that they’re coming up on their reading level. Even if they learn just eight new words and their meanings, they still got something from it,” Idowu said. “It’s really good to see how excited they are about reading new books and reading with their coaches.”

    Last year, Team Read served 375 elementary school readers with 450 teen mentors across eight Seattle Public Schools. About 70 percent of readers advanced at least two levels in reading, which often put them at grade-level proficiency.

    “We see kids be excited and really see and an attitude shift about how they feel about reading, how they feel about school, how they feel about being in the classroom, which can be hugely beneficial to the kids and their academic futures,” Pailthorp said.

    Building reading super powers can’t be done without the help of our amazing Seattle community and heroic partners like Team Read. Keep on reading, Super Readers! You never know when Superintendent Juneau will swoop in again for another reading adventure.

    Read more about Seattle Super Readers.

    Read more about Team Read.