Ryleigh from Boys & Girls Club of Placer County

Success Story

Ryleigh loves finding a book and seeing what it’s all about. When asked what this second grader’s favorite book is, she rattles off a list.

“I like reading because you get to go on new adventures and sometimes they’re animals and sometimes they’re real stories that actually happened,” Ryleigh said.

Through our education initiative, including our STAR Readers project Ryleigh participates in, we are calling on community members to be first responders in improving our region’s high school graduation rate by giving immediate aid and finding lasting solutions for future generations.

In addition to the STAR Readers project that is working with schools to locate K-3 students with significant reading challenges, United Way is taking the lead on our local Campaign for Grade Level Reading. This campaign includes funders, nonprofits and community members who are working to ensure more of our low-income children succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, careers and active citizenship.

But it all starts with reading at grade level by the end of third grade. After that, they’re not learning to read, they’re reading to learn.

The summer before she started first grade, Ryleigh started attending the Boys & Girls Club of Placer County’s reading program funded through United Way’s STAR Readers project. She was reading proficiently, but her mom wanted to make sure she stayed on track during the long summer months. She worked on letter naming fluency, sight words, sounding out unfamiliar words, using Leap Pads to increase her reading competency and reading one-on-one with volunteers.

She continued to attend the program when school started up, and in one year, her mastery of reading grew immensely. Now she reads fiction books about magic tree houses and kittens, as well as non-fiction books about snails. Did you know snails don’t all have the same shell? Ryleigh knows.

“Reading is important because you get to learn about animals, plants, presidents and stuff that’s real, not just imaginary,” Ryleigh said. “It feels awesome to tell people something they didn’t know. Reading is fun!”