The ReadEasy is up and running at Harmony Community Church in North Lawndale during the summer! For more information, or to get involved, reach out to Liza Raino-Ogden by clicking on any of the buttons below.
After working for a full three years at an intensive reading clinic, I sat down on the bank of Legend Lake in Keshena, Wisconsin and had an epiphany. For an entire summer, I had been the Office Manager of the Oak Park branch of this reading clinic and had countless conversations with desperate parents looking for a remediating program for their struggling or dyslexic reader. I listened as they described how their child was one, two, three years behind, was refusing to read and dreaded going to school. Some of these parents, who lived in Oak Park or River Forest, then found a sanctuary at our clinic, and were able to pay the more than $2,000 a week to teach their child to read. For these children, I could see how well the program worked—children came in unable to read the word “kite” and left eight or so weeks later reading close to grade level. It seemingly worked miracles.
While I felt the joy in watching these children learn that they too could succeed, there was a part of me that was extremely conflicted. The part that had those conversations with parents who would hear the price and hang up. While this program could work wonders, it was only working wonders for a singular community: affluent families with determination and transportation, or families who had the wherewithal and the lawyer to convince the school district to pay. Crazy.
My epiphany was this: Quality intensive reading instruction should be available to all, regardless of the ability to pay extraordinary amounts of money. I believe that literacy is not only a goal to be attained, but a right for all. I believe that every child, provided the right environment and program, can learn to read. I believe that the best learning is fun and engaging, and done in a safe space. Thus, The ReadEasy was born.
The ReadEasy has started as a reading summer camp in Chicago, providing intensive 1 on 1 instruction. Our tutors are hired from the North Lawndale community. Students are required to attend for the entire duration of the six week program. After all, reading can only be improved if attendance is achievable and consistent.
So far, we have had four successful summers helping about twenty students overcome their reading difficulties. I've had parents call with reports that their student, who had been in remedial reading for years, was finally placed in a mainstream class. I've seen proud faces of children who have brought me their report cards full of A's and B's. And, of course, I've seen the countless smiles of students who have realized that they too can read.
If you know of a student in North Lawndale in desperate need of instruction, or you would like to become one of my star tutors, please reach out!