By Nick Nunn staff writer
Each Friday at the Morgan County Primary School (MCPS), a dedicated group of local men take a few hours out of their mornings to read to students from kindergarten to second grade as part of a program hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia. According to a press release, the program, which is called Reading Intelligence, Standards, and Education (RISE), is “an all male reading program that targets all you to understand the importance of reading and education by using reading comprehension as a tool for success.” By engaging students in the reading process, RISE hopes to foster reading comprehension, thereby creating a tool for success, from which the students will benefit over the course of their entire life. Increased standardized testing scores is one of the measurable outcomes promoted by the program, as well as increasing the student’s chances for academic success and educational development.
The Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy states that children, who don’t read on grade level by the end of the third grade, are much less likely to graduate from high school and that the state of Georgia spends approximately $170 million dollars on remedial education yearly. The exposure to positive male role models from the community is also a benefit to the children, who are able to learn in “a loving environment” which is conductive to learning. Currently, 15 to 20 local men support the RISE program at MCPS weekly, taking the time out to read an entire book with their group. RISE has also garnered local sponsors; each week Cracker Barrel contributes coffee to the volunteers, while Ingles, Chick-Fil-A, and the Caboose in Madison donate food to the program. For more information about the program, including how to volunteer, contact Hscola Dempsey, B&G Clubs liaison for the RISE program, at HDempsey@bgcncg.org.