“When I learned that my daughter, Nadine, was reading at a pre-K level in grade 2, it felt like a punch to the gut. I’m a single mother of four kids and had just entered university. I was so busy I didn’t realize she was floating under the radar. Once I knew, though, my focus became enhancing all my kids’ learning abilities.
At first, I thought a United Way program would just give Nadine extra practice, but right away, she showed so much improvement. She came home every day with stories about reading books with the volunteers, and I thought, ‘I want my daughter to have this much excitement reading with her mom.’ Within the first week, I was getting pamphlets on how to make reading fun and engaging for parents, too. I was glad to get them—they’ll help me in the future with my two younger children.
Mom Jayce, right, is grateful Chase and Nadine were able to increase their reading levels with help from a United Way program. Alix, left, volunteers her time with kids and donates to United Way.
My son Chase wasn’t as under the radar as Nadine was, but he was reading at a lower level. So, I knew it was the right choice to get him involved in the program also. Chase deals with ADHD, but the volunteers didn’t discourage him for learning at a slower pace—they were patient with him.
Now that I’m a literacy teacher myself, I understand that reading is confidence. That’s why I push for these programs. If any parent has access to them, they need to jump right in.
Chase and Nadine are now seven and 10; they’re both reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and they talk about what’s going to happen next. When I was first told Nadine was three grades behind in her reading level, I would never have guessed that she and Chase would be reading chapter books together two years later.
I can’t fully express what United Way has done for my kids. The future of my entire family has been positively impacted.”