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Contact(s):Meg Matthews
(501) 371-4421

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mayor's Starfish Reading Initiative



College Students Tutor Third Graders

What: UALR Students Begin Helping Bale Elementary Students with Reading Skills

When: Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 – 1:00 p.m.

Where: Bale Elementary – 6501 West 32nd Ave.

Garnering the energy of a college student to help a third grader focus on reading skills is a big part of the Mayor’s Starfish Reading Initiative. Tomorrow, UALR students will meet the children they will help this school year. A news conference will be held at Bale Elementary School at 1:00 p.m. to recognize the participants in this program.


“Reading is perhaps the single most important skill necessary for a happy, productive and successful life. That is what we want for every citizen of Little Rock,” said Mayor Mark Stodola. “Poor reading skills have long standing consequences.  Surveys of adolescents and young adults with criminal records or a history of substance abuse show that about half have reading difficulties.”


The Mayor’s Starfish Reading initiative is part of the portfolio of services contained in our Love Your School program introduced at Western Hills and MLK elementary schools in fall, 2011.  Students from the UALR Chancellor’s Leadership Corps (CLC) served as walking escorts for students at Western Hills Elementary School and, after a successful year, have turned their attention to serving as K-3rd grade reading tutors.  Trained by Volunteers in Public Schools (ViPS) Director Debbie Milam and City of Little Rock Chief Service Officer Michael Drake, the CLC students are eager to begin their service in support of the Little Rock School Districts’ goal of all third grade students reading at grade level by the conclusion of 2015.


“Its amazing how many UALR students have volunteered to do this,” said City Manager Bruce Moore. “There are about 75 young adults who are willing to forgo some of their college activities this year and take the time to help a 3rd grader with their reading skills. It’s a true testament of their character and we’re so proud they call Little Rock home.”


After the 1:00 p.m. news conference, the UALR volunteers will immediately start their tutoring process with the Bale Elementary 3rd graders who are participating.



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