The America Reads Challenge Initiative is a grassroots, national, literacy campaign originated in 1997. Its goal is to mobilize a critical mass of individuals to ensure that every child can read well and independently by the end of the third grade.
In response to the America Reads Challenge Initiative, Ouachita Baptist University created a model reading tutorial program that offers community service work-study or volunteer opportunities to students. Ouachita’s Elrod Center America Reads program was implemented the spring semester of 1998 and has continued every semester since then. The focus is on children in the first grade in Arkadelphia Public Schools. The children are provided one-on-one tutoring and mentoring.
In 1997 an America Reads Challenge Steering Committee was formed to develop the proposed model which was implemented in the spring semester of 1998. The steering committee was comprised of Ian Cosh, Jeanna Westmoreland, Steve Phillips, Susan Hurst, Rhonda Frederick, Ray Granade and Jeff Root.
Jan Bass served as coordinator of public school initiatives until her May 2012 retirement.
We welcomed Leigh Anne McKinney as the Elrod Center’s new coordinator of public school initiatives beginning in August of 2012. She is responsible for coordinating all program aspects with the public schools.
How to Become a Tutor/Mentor
Ouachita Students who are eligible for federal work-study or wish to volunteer may apply for these positions during spring semester in order to tutor the following fall semester. Applications will be available in the student financial aid office during the spring semester. Interviews are conducted by the coordinator of public school initiatives prior to the end of the spring semester. The pay scale for tutor/mentors will be $1.00 above the average work-study position.
Requirements for Selected Tutor/Mentors
- Complete mandatory training workshops at the beginning of the fall semester
- Sign an agreement to commit to guidelines established for tutoring programs
- Arrange tutoring schedule with classroom teachers after assignments are made