Giving Back: iRead & iCount

The Morning Show

You can volunteer by helping read to students in the community. Learn how to get involved in today’s giving back.



Laura Weis, Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director;

Beverley Baker, United Way of Champaign County Director of Community Impact

ISSUE TO ADDRESS: Only 32% of Unit 4 third graders met or exceeded performance standards on state reading assessments. The state average is 37%.

Up to third grade, students are learning to read. After third grade, students read 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. Ultimately, this will limit their career options. However, with additional supports these students are more likely to make gains thus increasing employment opportunities and higher wages- which are very good for the local economy!

QUESTIONS (for the interviewer to ask the agency representative, please include answers as well):

1. So, what can be done to support students falling behind?

a. Extra practice and starting early

b. More repetition and one on one support

2. Tell us about your new partnership. How is your new program going to help?

a. Its called iRead*iCount

b. Our new partnership between the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, Unit 4 School District, United Way and many others will provide volunteers at four elementary schools to start. We hope it is so successful we can expand to more schools in other districts and even add MATH! Maybe even add more grades!

c. These volunteers will work at least 1 hour a week at the school with kindergarten students needing extra support in a 1-on-1 session.

d. The volunteers will receive basic training from school district literacy specialists along with a prescribed curriculum which gives the student extra time to practice letter identification, writing and reading outside the regular classroom time with the support of a caring community member.

3. How can people get involved or learn more? a.

b. Print out, complete, sign and return the required forms which includes a background check

c. Once approved, you’ll sign up for the school/day/time that works with your availability

d. Attend a mandatory training session on February 7 or 11; then attend a brief volunteer orientation at the school so you know where to park, sign in, etc.


Mid-February through mid-May

During the school day- on a day, at a time and location that works for your schedule

How can we learn more about this event? Visit

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce website and social media

United Way of Champaign County website and social media

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