The Anchorage Reads program is part of President Clinton's America Reads Challenge to ensure every child can read well by the end of the third grade. The Anchorage program was started in October of 1998 with federal grant money. The money pays for administration, trainers and supplies. So far Anchorage Reads has trained more than 200 people to become tutors. Tutors commit 1-2 hours per week going into the schools and working one-on-one to help a child become an independent reader.
Sally Vonada, the program's director, says the project was initially funded for six months. After that time was up, there was some money left, but no plan for how Anchorage Reads was going to continue. "I just didn't want it to fade away," Vonada said. "We did a lot of work and a lot of good things were happening. We had a lot of positive feedback from it."
Vonada got approval from the Director of Elementary Education to keep the program going until the funds run out. However, that may happen soon. Now, she hopes some organization will step in to help. And she hopes for all the volunteers she can get.
Anyone interested in tutoring should first contact the school where they want to help. Anyone interested in helping to fund Anchorage Reads in the future can call Sally Vonada or Kathleen Castle at 907-742-3715.