When Covid hit our country, we were forced to drastically adjust our program. As part of our adjusted program, we organized Read-With-Me, especially targeting our ESL students. Read with Me has been so successful, we have continued to make it a part of our CWJC of Rusk County program.  The two primary goals for Read with Me are: (1) to keep our ESL/ABE students actively engaged with English, and (2) to help establish a pattern of reading in the home. We help students set reading goals and then provide them with appropriate books according to their level of reading or the age of the children with whom they are reading. Students are encouraged, if possible, to read with children in their family.  They may read books that we give them, choose books from outside sources such as our local library, and/or read in their Bibles.

Funding from a Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant allows us to purchase books for this project.   These books are given for the family to keep, helping establish “libraries” in the home.  Read with Me now includes both off-campus students and on-campus students.  We porch-drop the books.  Each year we are consistently averaging about 20 adult students who actively participate, and an additional 35 children read with their mothers or grandmothers. We are excited that our students love Read with Me and asked that this program continue.  We now have received additional funding for books from the Henderson Hospital/Habitat for Humanity Foundation.

During Covid Read with Me became our fundraiser.  Because of its success, we have continued this as a fundraiser.  Students have reading goals, and we solicit donors as sponsors for each of our students. Donors make a general donation or give dollar amounts for each book a student reads.  Not only does this help with the funding for CWJC of Rusk County, but it has allowed our students to have a way to give back to CWJC.  We also love the wonderful response to this project by our community.  Read-With-Me is a true win-win event