By Angela Wilson | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern
Page pals is a reading initiative created in a partnership between the City of Birmingham and Birmingham City Schools (BCS) with the purpose of improving student’s reading ability, specifically third graders. This initiative is in response to the Alabama Literacy Act, a law that when fully implemented, will prevent a third grade student who is not reading on grade level from moving up to the fourth grade, essentially being “held back” in third grade. Although parents and students will have the ability to go through a remediation process to improve student reading ability, the law is of great concern as only 56% of 3rd grade students in Birmingham City Schools are effectively achieving grade level reading as measured by the 2021 State of Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program (ACAP).
The City of Birmingham is supporting BCS on-going efforts to improve student reading ability by asking members from the local community, non-profit groups, and corporations to volunteer some of their time to read with the BCS students. Reading to children improves their opportunity to hear others read outside of their normal classroom setting. These efforts have proven to be very beneficial to the students and may boost their interest and proficiency in reading.
Are you interested in volunteering? Page Pals volunteers go into one of the BCS elementary schools during the students’ library times, spending about thirty minutes of reading time with the students. Volunteers may choose from a list of schools, dates, and times that work best with their schedule. During their selected time, volunteers will read a book to the students that follows a curriculum created by BCS to help them build the background knowledge in science and social studies and to better prepare them for their standardized testing that occurs in April. Volunteers are encouraged to engage with the students by asking them questions periodically, reiterating comprehension and understanding about the book being read, and help grow their love for reading; thereby making a strong connection impact so that they perform better on their Alabama Comprehensive Assessment.
Our local children need our help to ensure their future remains bright, so let’s help to light their path to a brighter future. Sign up to become a Page Pal volunteer. It is easy and free! Simply visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/springpagepals#/ and select your school choice, date and time. Now you’re all set! If you ‘d like more information about the Page Pals program, you can follow this link at https://www.bhamyouthfirst.org/page-pals/.
Acknowledgement: PHAME-US.com would like to thank you to Mr. Marquise Hollingsworth for your time in support of this blogpost.