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    • Literacy and math skills are a problem for some of our young students in the community and many cannot pass the state tests administered in third grade.
    • Studies show that these students will have a hard time to catch up, and may continue to fall behind, as they progress through the grades.
    • With additional supports, these students will be more likely to succeed in learning and go on to make a sustainable wage as adults to support themselves and their families and also will be more likely to be a productive contributor to our local economy.

    According to Champaign Unit 4 2018 PARCC Data:

    • Only 32% of 3rd grade students can meet or exceed in reading on the state test
    • Only 39% of 3rd grade students can meet or exceed in math on the state test
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    We can do better. 

    We have the capability to help the future generation of the workforce to succeed by laying the foundation for reading and math education for our kindergarten students now.




  • About:

    We need our area professionals to be part of the community solution to overcome an achievement gap that is simply not acceptable for Champaign County. This important early learning initiative could have tremendous impact on the lives of the students served and for the community as a whole.

  • iRead iRead

    Why Does Reading by 3rd Grade Level Matter to Our Community?

    • Up until third grade, students are learning to read. After third grade, students are reading to learn.
    • Studies show that if a student has not learned to read by third grade, they will continue to fall behind in future grade levels and will have fewer career options.

    "Letter learning is foundational to becoming a successful strategic reader and writer. Evidence demonstrates that high-progress literacy learners gain control over letters easily and by the beginning of their first year of formal reading and writing instruction, while low-progress learners encounter difficulty with this challenging task. Teachers [and volunteers] can help children learn letters and their associated sounds to become fluent readers and writers of complex texts. . . .Valuing children's current letter knowledge and designing appropriate reading and writing tasks support children in becoming strategic readers and writers and make a positive impact on children's continued learning and literacy achievement.”

    — Dr. Elizabeth Kay and Dr. Mary K. Lose, More Than ABCs: Letter Knowledge and the Development of a Literacy Processing System, Journal of Reading Recovery, Fall 2015.

    A Success Story

    The Spring 2019 iRead Pilot Program had 80+ volunteers who spent just one hour a week at one of the four Unit 4 schools working one-on-one with kindergarten students who needed help with reading. And, it produced some remarkable results:

    Average improvement on Letter ID

    • Overall: 73.86%
    • Without BTW: 96.93%

    Improved score by more than double

    • Overall: 9
    • Without BTW: 12

    Percent improved by more than double

    • Overall: 36.52%
    • Without BTW: 48.69%


    Largest improvement

    • Start: 4
    • Finish: 52
    • Change: +48

    Average improvement

    • Start: 30
    • Finish: 47
    • Change: +17

    Average improvement without BTW*

    • Start: 24
    • Finish: 45
    • Change: +22


    * BTW (Booker T. Washington) students started at a higher letter identification level than the other three schools. So, in addition to measuring letter identification, BTW school measured different literacy skills in which the students also showed gains. Those other measures are not represented here for the purpose of keeping these measures consistent.

  • iCount iCount

    Why Does Math Education Matter to Our Community?

    • Math is a vital and necessary skill needed to succeed in the workplace and in life today.


    • Studies show that those students who do not have basic math skills by third grade, will most likely not be able to catch up, and may continue to fall behind, as the grades progress and the math gets more complicated.


    • If we can help these students to grasp the basics early on, they will have a better chance of succeeding with future math classes and ultimately go on to have better-quality careers and become a more skilled workforce for our area companies.
  • Program Times & Dates:

    Simply select a program tier, school and time (a one-hour time slot weekly) to work one-on-one with students to help them develop the skills necessary to build a firm foundation for literacy and math learning. Volunteers will work with up to 4-6 students and may work with the same students each week.

  • iRead Kindergarten iRead Kindergarten

    Monday - Friday

    October 7 - December , 2019


    Booker T. Washington

    • 9:25 - 10:25 a.m.
    • 10:20 - 11:20 a.m.

    Dr. Howard

    • 8:10 - 9:10 a.m.
    • 8:45 - 9:45 a.m.

    Garden Hills

    • 9:40 - 10:40 a.m.
    • 10:15 - 11:15 a.m.


    • 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
    • 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
  • iCount Math Kindergarten iCount Math Kindergarten

    Monday - Friday

    October 28 - December 6, 2019


    Booker T. Washington

    • 9:25 - 10:25 a.m.
    • 10:20 - 11:20 a.m.

    Dr. Howard

    • 8:10 - 9:10 a.m.
    • 8:45 - 9:45 a.m.

    Garden Hills

    • 9:40 - 10:40 a.m.
    • 10:15 - 11:15 a.m.


    • 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
    • 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
  • Learning Activities:

    Volunteers will be trained by Unit 4 staff on the learning activities that they will use to work with their students. A variety of training dates will be available for each tier for signup.



  • Kindergarten Literacy Activities Kindergarten Literacy Activities

    Working with Letters:

    • Letter Tracing

    Working with Words:

    • Name Puzzle
    • Rainbow Writing
    • Mix and Fix

    Working with Books:

    • Concepts About Print (Reading books with children)
  • Kindergarten Math Activities Kindergarten Math Activities

    Counting and Cardinality

    • Number Posters
    • Racing Two Trains
    • Bean Count


    • Patterns with Partners


    • Tactile Number Writing

    Number Sense

    • Top-It with Dot Cards
  • Literacy and Math Session Goals Literacy and Math Session Goals

    • Volunteers will develop relationships with 4-6 young students
    • Volunteers will see growth as students acquire skills necessary for reading and math
    • Students will have an opportunity to develop a relationship with an adult
    • Students will grow in their confidence and begin to build agency as readers and in doing math
    • Students will demonstrate improved performance on assessments

  • Volunteer Details: Volunteer Details:

    1. Complete the Application and Background Check Disclosure and Authorization Forms for the tier you wish to volunteer for.

    CLICK HERE to view the application. 

     You will need to print out, complete, sign, and return completed forms to Champaign Unit 4 Schools:

    • Mail or Deliver to: 502 W. Windsor Road, Champaign, IL 61820
    • Email to: careersupport@u4sd.org

     Applications Must be Received By:

    • iRead Kindergarten:  August 9, 2019
    • iCount Kindergarten:  September 20, 2019


    2. Sign up for Your Volunteer School/Day/Time Online

    All cleared and accepted volunteers will receive an email with details about participating, including the link to the online sign-up webpage. Volunteers will then go online to select a specific school, day, and time that is the same for each week during the program. The Volunteer Coordinators will then match volunteers with classrooms for a more consistent learning experience for the students.


    3. Attend the Mandatory Training Session

    All volunteers will need to sign up for the mandatory training sessions when they are signing up for their volunteer times at the schools. Separate training session sign-up options will be on the same sign-up page that lists the four school options.

    Training sessions will be conducted by Champaign Unit 4 specialists and will teach volunteers about the tool kits and different educational activities to be used when you are with your students. Training sessions will be held at the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.


    4. Attend School Orientation Sessions

    Volunteers are required to attend a school-specific orientation at the school they have selected.




  • “I volunteered for the iRead iCount Program because I believe every child/student should have an opportunity to better themselves and be the best they can be”

    — Kayla Carleton, Stephens Family YMCA


  • “Math is everything! I know that sounds contrite coming from an accountant but think about it. Without math you couldn’t measure your ingredients for a cake, figure out how to give or get change at a store, or determine the best deals when shopping. More importantly, it is the building block for problem-solving and analytical skills needed in all careers, and in life, for that matter.”  

    — Denise Martin, CPA, Martin Hood 


  • Community Partners:

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