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Release: April 26, 2000

UI America Reads program ends third year with celebration May 5

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Tutors and students in the University of Iowa's America Reads Tutoring Program will have a chance to say goodbye to one another during a special celebration Friday, May 5.

The end-of-year event, which marks the program's third anniversary, will begin at 7 p.m. at Grant Wood Elementary School, 1930 Lakeside Drive. While the celebration is primarily for tutors, students and their parents, the public is welcome to attend.

The program is expected to last about 60 minutes and includes presentations of certificates, comments by officials from the school districts and the UI College of Education -- where America Reads is based -- as well as readings by the participating children. Refreshments will be served.

Initiated by President Clinton three years ago, America Reads is a nationwide tutoring program designed to improve the reading skills of children in elementary school.

This year, the UI program's tutors include about 46 work-study students and13 volunteers who represent a variety of majors. Tutoring sessions take place in six elementary schools and neighborhood centers.

Peggy Rowell, America Reads program coordinator at UI, said the program requires a considerable commitment by students and tutors. Tutors get 20 hours of training before beginning and attend hour-long workshops each week for an entire semester. Each tutor is paired with one to six children and meets one-on-one for 30 minutes two to three times per week, using individualized lesson plans and reading materials that match the child's interests and instructional needs.

While the spring session is almost over, America Reads will offer a tutoring session for six weeks this summer beginning June 12. Parents interested in having their children tutored should contact their child's school or neighborhood center. University work-study students and student volunteers who are interested in tutoring may contact Rowell at 335-5613.

EDITORS NOTE: America Reads will continue tutoring students through May 5. Media interested in interviewing and/or photographing participants may call Stephen Pradarelli at (319) 384-0007 to make arrangements.