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Eugene Summer Reading Program Helps Children In Need

Amy Brenneman

A new program at Marist Catholic High School in Eugene provides children in need with free reading lessons and meals.

The Genesis Reading Academy targets McKinney-Vento children, the federal designation for those who may be living in unstable homes. 

Julie Ferrari, program supervisor, says these kids often read below grade-level and improving their reading skills is vital for their future success.

“Research shows that if kids aren’t reading at their level by about third grade that their future success in school and in life, their chances decrease quite a bit,” says Ferrari. “So we’re here to try to combat that.”

About 60 children, kindergarten through fourth grade, are in the program. They come from Eugene 4J, Bethel, and Springfield school districts.

The academy runs four days a week and includes breakfast and lunch, provided by Food for Lane County, recess, and reading activities that promote critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.

9-year-old Bella says what her favorite part about the reading academy is:

“All the teachers. They’re really fun and really nice.”

Credit Amy Brenneman / KLCC
Julie Ferrari.

Ferrari says not only do they have teachers, but volunteers also include doctoral students from the University of Oregon’s Education Department, undergraduates, and high schoolers from Marist. They have about a two to one teacher to student ratio.

Anthony, 8-years-old, describes why he likes the academy:

“I really like this camp. It’s really cool. Reading camp is super fun. My favorite part is reading and playing with my friends.”

Last year, their first year, they had 30 students. This summer, attendance has more than doubled and they hope to continue expanding their program.

Amy Brenneman is the 2019 Snowden Intern. She began working in the KLCC News Room June 24, 2019. She recently graduated from University of Oregon with a major in journalism and a minor in anthropology. She loves radio so much, she even made her undergraduate thesis an audio story about paranormal tourism in the United States.
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