The READ Team, formerly known as ARISE2Read Jackson Madison County, began in Jackson in 2014.
We serve in six of Jackson-Madison County elementary schools.
Each of these schools has been adopted by an Adopter Church; however, multiple churches and community volunteers work together within each school to support The READ Team and to assist with other school programs and needs.
On April 8, 2021, The READ Team officially joined United Way of West TN as a program in United Way's Education emphasis.
United Way of West Tennessee advocates for equity through Uniting agencies in ways that improve each person’s access to health, education, and financial stability. Our extensive footprint allows us to collaborate with over 60 area nonprofits spanning 14 counties across the West Tennessee region. By helping them acquire resources, we empower them to assist those in need within their local area. Our web address: uwwt.org.
Students in low-income communities are, on average, three grade levels behind their peers in affluent communities.
470 North Parkway PO Box 2086 Jackson, Tennessee 38302
"After spending 17 years homeschooling our two children, my husband and I recently found ourselves empty-nesters. I began to think and pray about how to use my time. I knew I wanted to be involved in something that invested in peoples' lives. After hearing about Team Read and going to the introductory meeting, I decided I would commit to volunteering.
After the first meeting with my two assigned children, I discovered that one of them wanted to be a dentist and the other a basketball player when they grow up. Mid-year one of my children moved away, and I was assigned a new reader. He wants to be a chef when he grows up. This in itself was rather unusual, but then I discovered that he already knew all the 1000+ sight words we were supposed to be working on!
I wondered what "in the world" we would do with our time. Then it occurred to me. I had a children's cookbook at home that I would bring with me, and we would read recipes. The cookbook is unique in that it teaches about different countries and cultures around the world. Every week I brought the cookbook and a children's atlas, and we read about how to make dishes from Egypt to Japan. We even practiced with chopsticks when we read about China.
After our first day of reading from the cookbook, my young reader said, "Can I take this book home with me?" I told him I needed to keep it, but that each week I would bring him a photocopy of the recipes we would read for that day. After doing this for several weeks, another little boy came to me and said, "Can I have one of those 'grocery lists' like you send home with him?"
At the close of our year our final meeting day was bittersweet. The volunteers were proud of the progress our readers had made and were glad to cheer them on, but we were also sad to say goodbye. We had become friends. We were allowed to bring a book to give to each of our readers as a small gift to encourage them to keep on reading. I can't tell you the joy I experienced when my reader opened his package and found his own copy of the cookbook we had been reading together. Team Read is truly one of the best things I have ever been involved in. I can't recommend it enough."
-Ms. Pat Guthrie, Former READ Team Coach at Lane Elementary