This past Friday, RCSE heard from Leia Dedic who is with the United Way of the Coastal Empire.  Before she began her presentation on Read United, President Andrew Cosey welcomed the two visiting Rotarians and reminded everyone of the Board Meeting that was scheduled for after the meeting.  Once all Rotary business items were discussed, Kim Campbell introduced Leia. 
Read United is a year long program that was started here in Chatham County this past school year at Otis Brock and Windsor Forest Elementary Schools.  Before starting the program, United Way did research as to what has the most impact on early childhood literary.  They looked at best practices across the country and realized that the best results are achieved if you have shared reading.  20 third grade students from each school have volunteers (Reading Buddy) read with them twice a week for 30 minutes throughout the school year.  Students were picked based on their current reading level.  Testing was done at the beginning of the year and then again at the end.  The tests measured vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.  Those students who participated in the program had better results than students who did not.  Because of the encouraging scores, United Way is adding a third school (A.B. Williams) to the program next year.  They are looking for funding and volunteers.  The Rotary Club of Savannah funded the first year of the program.  We then had the opportunity to hear from Helen who was a volunteer Reading Buddy this past year.  Helen's stories of her work with Willie were heartwarming and impactful.  If you would like to become a volunteer, please visit