Volunteer tutoring program helps kids succeed at Cassville Elementary School

CASSVILLE, Mo. -- Community members in Cassville are volunteering their time to help second-graders succeed in reading and literature.

"We are just hoping that they can not only read better, but that they will enjoy reading and see how it can really change your life," Ruth Thompson said.

Thompson and her daughter Wendy Miekley are both former teachers. They recruited other volunteers from the community and started Cassville's "Read 2 Succeed" after-school tutoring program last semester.

"We just looked at each other and thought, 'Oh, we can do that,'" Thompson said.

They say the goal is to use one-on-one time with students to fine-tune second-graders' reading skills.

"Help fix those little things, like handwriting things that are hard in a full classroom to monitor every child," Miekley said.

They work on teaching kids to keep trying, even on those tough words.

"They tell you to break them down and just put your finger on the words and try to sound it out," 8-year-old Mailynn said.

The tutoring helps kids conquer a skill that can impact all areas of education.

"When students are struggling with reading and literacy, the earlier we are able to provide interventions, the more successful they'll be in upper grades," Cassville School District Superintendent Dr. Richard Asbill said.

The tutors say in just a few months, they've seen progress that points to a brighter future for little readers.

"From being a word or two word reader to reading in good phrases and raising their reading levels," Miekley said.

Before the volunteers start to work with the kids, the school provides a background check for every volunteer. They also do safety training.