Participation in several different reading and mentoring programs is another of the many ways the United States Attorney’s Office works to prevent crime. The goals of reading and mentoring programs are to give students a better chance for success in school and expand their life horizon..
Everybody Wins! Power Lunch Reading Program
Power Lunch is a unique literacy and mentoring initiative. Volunteer mentors read to students who are performing below grade level, during their lunch hour, in an effort to improve the students’ reading skills and foster a love of reading. By the end of third grade, children must transition from learning to read to reading to learn. According to the National Research Council, a person who is not at least a moderately skilled reader by third grade is unlikely to graduate from high school. Children who read below grade level struggle to keep up with the pace of learning in the classroom, exhibit more behavioral and social problems in school, and have higher rates of repeating grades.
According to The National Assessment of Educational Progress (2010), only two out of three fourth graders in the United States are proficient in reading. In Georgia, the situation is worse where less than oneout of three fourth graders is proficient in reading.
To combat the problem, during the 2013-2014 school year, United States Attorney’s Office staff members served as Power Lunch Reading Mentors at two Atlanta Public Schools: Bethune Elementary School and Hope-Hill Elementary School. In total, 14 employees contributed 161 hours of service. Twenty (20) United States Attorney’s Office staff members are serving as Power Lunch Reading Mentors during the 2014-2015 school year.
Mayor’s Summer Reading Club
During the summer of 2014, the United States Attorney’s Office participated in the Atlanta's Mayor Summer Reading Club. The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club is a public-private partnership designed to improve vocabulary and literacy skills. The reading club is for children from birth to eight years of age and their families. The goals of the reading club are to engage the community in encouraging children to continue reading and learning during the summer, to encourage families to instill literacy as a core value in the home, and increase family awareness of the importance of reading with their children every day.
The reading club designates a city-wide book choice for infants, a book for children ages 2-4, and one for children ages 5-8. The books are given to reading club participants and their families at no cost. From July 14, 2014 through July 18, 2014, twenty-eight staff members from the United States Attorney’s Office traveled to The Villages at Carver Family YMCA (Slater Elementary School) and read the book “Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street” to more than 100 boys and girls ages 5 to 8 years old.