Thursday, August 09, 2001

OhioReads gets surge of volunteers

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Gov. Bob Taft on Wednesday announced that his OhioReads program has recruited more than 40,000 volunteers.

        The program provides grants to schools to buy reading materials and recruit volunteer tutors. It was Mr. Taft's top priority when he became governor in 1999.

        The number of tutors has grown from the 27,000 that Mr. Taft announced in January.

        “I am thrilled by the overwhelming support for OhioReads,” Mr. Taft said at the first statewide OhioReads conference.

        OhioReads has given more than $125 million to more than 2,000 elementary schools.

        In the Perrysburg school district south of Toledo, Woodland Elementary uses 23 tutors for about 54 students. Coordinator Brenda Walters said that while they can't provide one-on-one tutoring, the extra help still makes a big difference.

        “You're still able to individualize those sessions for your group of students, and you actually bond with these students,” said Ms. Walters, who receives a $2,000 OhioReads stipend to coordinate the volunteers.


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