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iRead iCount


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

The fall iCount program has almost 160 community members who volunteered and are making a difference helping students with their math competencies through December 1, 2023.

Plans are underway for spring 2024 for the iRead Program to take place March 19 – April 26, 2024.

We will need numerous volunteers in both Champaign and Urbana schools to help the hundreds of students who need extra assistance with their reading competencies. See 2023 data below that shows how great the need is!

If you are interested in volunteering this spring, please click the link below to get a PDF application. Then print, complete, and send it to the school district as directed on the cover letter. Repeat volunteers will just need to complete the first page of the application.

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

Application Deadline: February 9, 2024

Champaign Unit 4 Schools

Apply to Volunteer at Unit 4

Click the link above to download the application

Participating Schools


Booker T Washington

Carrie Busey

Dr. Howard

Garden Hills





Urbana District 116 Schools

Apply to Volunteer at District 116

Click the link above to download the application

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 2023:

Champaign Unit 4 3rd Grade State Test Score Data 2023:

22.9 percent of students can meet or exceed in reading

27.2 percent of students can meet or exceed in math

Overall Illinois 3rd Grade State Test Score Data 2023:

28.8 percent of students can meet or exceed in reading

33 percent of students can meet or exceed in math

Urbana District 116 3rd Grade State Test Score Data 2023:

7.9 percent of students can meet or exceed in reading

11.1 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 Program is offered in the spring and the iCount Program is offered in the fall at Champaign and Urbana primary schools.

  • 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 volunteers can make a world of difference to the children who are having difficulties with their early learning competencies.

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 skills this spring.
  • 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 Cheryl Barringer 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?


Cheryl Barringer, iRead • iCount® Coordinator at or call 217.359.1791

iRead • iCount Sponsors