MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- LaRose Elementary School second graders are the center of attention for what they have done the last eight months. They've been meeting twice a week with volunteers working on one thing- reading.
"I have learned a lot of words and I learned how to read better," said second grader Ja'Kiya Ellison.
Ja'Kiya is an example of how many words these students can learn with a little help.
"I went from 100 to 200 to 400. Then I went to 800 and I went to 1000," said Ja'Kiya.
She is talking about the words she can now read and the program that makes it all possible.
WREG kicked off its Team Read effort last September with a 30 minute special, news stories and WREG volunteers all pushing the message to the community to sign up to work in the schools with the students on reading.
Arise2Read has been leading the way, getting volunteers across the Shelby County area trained and ready to work.
Stacey Wells is back for her second year at LaRose.
"It' been so painless and so easy. It's one hour a week, 30 minutes with each child one on one. You get to really know them," said Wells.
These students don't all start at the same level nor do they progress at the same momentum, but their teachers acknowledge they have improved.
"In my class we have gone from single digit children making gains, to double-digit children making gains in reading and math," said LaRose second grade teacher Edith Hurt.
That is key, because the earlier these students can grasp reading, the better.
"Having them have that foundation that will support them for a lifetime, especially in literacy is very vital," said LaRose Principal Robert Davis.
Brenda Ingram is determined to make sure the gains her second grade son Caleb have made stick with him.
"It takes more than just the teachers to get the job done. If they are going to be successful in life, it has to start at home first and then it spreads abroad," she said.
The goal is to develop these budding readers into life long learners.
"I like reading books and words. My favorite book is Fly Guy," said second grader Amyrah Hopson.
This school year of Team Read is wrapping up, but there is always a need for volunteers next school year.
Call Shelby County Schools at (901) 416-7600 for more information on volunteering.