SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A large number of children in San Diego are not reading to grade level. However, a local non-profit, Words Alive, is doing its best to change that and make sure every child calls themselves a reader.
"In the San Diego Unified School District for example, 48% of children on last year's smart balance test are not reading at grade level," says Words Alive Program Director Amanda Bonds.
Bonds said reading is a skill set that can be improved upon our entire lives.
"It's our responsibility as a community to help get kids to that point together to ensure that young people gather positive and rich experiences reading, writing, and talking about what they are reading," said Bonds.
With the help of close to 1,600 volunteers; Words Alive is helping kids by the use of quality books, reading workshops, and read loud programs.
"I love the engagement with the kids," said volunteer Jim McIlhon. "I love seeing their faces light up when our sessions begin and how attentive and attune they are to the stories."
McIlhon said he loves the fact that Words Alive follows the school curriculum.
"Do to COVID, for some of these kids, it's their first time in a collective environment of the school. So the first few weeks the books are about change, making friends, or adapting to new environments. As the school year moves on we touch on other things like working together."
Bonds emphasizes that teaching kids to read takes a whole community with the end result of creating thriving, literate young people.
"When you are a reader, and it becomes a valuable part of who you are, it is often something you are excited to share with someone else and that can help us solve this literary crisis," said Bonds.