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iRead iCount


We Have An Achievement Gap in Our Schools That Has Worsened Over The Past Couple of Years. This Requires the Community’s Help to Alleviate This Gap and Help These Children.

A big THANK YOU to the almost 200 volunteers that worked in the Champaign and Urbana primary school classrooms this spring. This extra help is sure to make a difference for these young students!

We are also making plans for the iCount Program this fall which will run from October 23 through December 1, 2023.

If you are interested in volunteering this fall, please complete the application using link below and send it to the school as directed on the forms. Repeat volunteers just need to complete the first page.

Application Deadline: September 15, 2023

Please consider volunteering to help make a difference in our community!

Champaign Unit 4 Schools

Apply to Volunteer at Unit 4


Participating Schools


Carrie Busey

Dr. Howard

Garden Hills



Urbana District 116 Schools

Apply to Volunteer at District 116


Participating Schools

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr.

Leal Elementary

Thomas Paine

Yankee Ridge

  • Why this Should Matter to You.

    • Reading and math are our most basic workforce skills.
    • Workforce development is an economic development tool and an anti-poverty, anti-violence strategy for our community.


    We can shape the future of our community by growing successful young children into successful adults or we can sit back and let the community shape itself. The quality of our schools impact just about every aspect of our community and these community schools need the community to be engaged and to help them with students who need extra attention with reading and math.

    • Literacy and math skills are deficient for a significant percentage of young area children. Studies prove these students will have a hard time catching up and may continue to fall behind.
    • With additional supports, these students will be more likely to succeed in learning so they can find good jobs to make sustainable wages and are more likely to be productive contributors to our local economy and workforce.
Student being helped.

Here’s How our Young Students are Performing as of 2022:

Champaign Unit 4 3rd Grade State Test Score Data 2022:

23.7 percent of students can meet or exceed in reading

28.6 percent of students can meet or exceed in math

Overall Illinois 3rd Grade State Test Score Data 2021:

28.3 percent of students can meet or exceed in reading

31.2 percent of students can meet or exceed in math

Urbana District 116 3rd Grade State Test Score Data 2022:

7.7 percent of students can meet or exceed in reading

15.2 percent of students can meet or exceed in math

We Can Do Better for Our Community. We Have to Do Better for Our Community.

We have the responsibility and ability to help the future workforce generation succeed by strengthening the foundation for literacy and math education for our youngest, most vulnerable students now.

To answer this need, the iRead ● iCount Program will be offered in both Champaign and Urbana primary schools this fall.

  • The iRead ● iCount Program puts community volunteers into primary school classrooms to spend one hour a week working directly with early learners to help with their basic reading and math skills.
  • A weekly, one-hour commitment by the volunteers can make a world of difference to children who are having difficulties with their early learning competencies.
  • The spring of 2023 program had almost 200 community members who volunteered.

We Need Your Help to Scale Up the Program to Assist More Children this Fall. Can We Count on You for an Hour of Your Time?

  • We will need hundreds lot of volunteers to assist young students in both kindergarten and first grade with their reading and math skills.
  • All volunteers can choose their schools and times and will be fully trained. The reward of helping a child build these skills is immeasurable.


If you are interested in volunteering, please click the link at the top of this page for which school district you would like to volunteer for.

Can We (i)Count on You?

If we want a prepared workforce for our future, we need to build the foundation now. And, it will take the community to build this foundation. We hope we can count on you to help!

Questions? Please contact Mindy Cain at or call 217-359-1791.

Teacher Testimonials

“The students love having a special guest to learn one-on-one with them, and each tutor is so friendly that the students always have a smile on their face when they are working together. ”

Sara Abbott, 1st Grade Teacher, Urbana District 116

Straight from the students’ mouths:
Laila - “I like the game mouse eater.”
Sanaa - “I like the sandbox because you write words in it.”
Eli - “I like spelling words and then I got better and better.”
Jamie - “I like when we play the games like learning cards.”
Anton - “I like doing my ABCs.”

Susie Myers, 1st Grade Teacher, Urbana District 116

“Whoever scheduled the iRead tutor group, THANK YOU a million times over!! The volunteers have been so kind, helpful, my students love them, and it is so nice they have a routine that we don’t have to prep for. Thank you SOOOOO much, we are beyond grateful :)”

Katelyn Shamhart, 1st Grade Teacher, Champaign Unit 4

Questions about the iRead • iCount program?

Contact Mindy Cain, Director of Workforce Readiness at or call 217.359.1791

Community Partners: