NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - About 30 percent of South Carolina’s 4th and 8th graders are reading at or above proficient. That’s according to the latest National Report Card from 2017.
A local program is working to changes those statistics one student at a time.
The Liberty Hill Improvement Council’s After School Literacy Program has been helping local students for free for about eight years.
The program is at the Felix Pinckney Community Center in North Charleston that serves children starting age 4 and goes up to 8th grade.
Robert Fludd, the executive director of the after school literacy program, says he was motivated to start the program after learning kids going to high school were reading at third and fourth grade levels
Through the four-day a week program children are not only seeing a boost in their reading scores but also confidence.
Fludd says one student, Laportia Scott, started attending the program when she was in about the 4th grade.
She now is a freshman at Academic Magnet High School. It’s a school that requires an application for acceptance and is tied for the top high school in South Carolina.
“Portia is just driven, she’s going to go places. It just makes you feel great because I think she got what we were trying to instill in them that you have to give back in order to sustain a community. It’s going to take everybody in the community working together,” Fludd said. “Once leaving as a student in the program, she came back as a volunteer and that just touched my heart.”
The program started serving children at one school in the Liberty Hill community and now it serves seven. It also works to improve math skills.
“Our mission is to teach the young people it doesn’t matter where you come from. What matters is where you’re going, and if you put your best foot forward you can do and accomplish anything,” Fludd said.
The literacy program is always looking for volunteers. They say high school students can also volunteer and get credit for service hours.
“We’ve gotten rave reviews. They can see a difference in not only the academics but in the behavior of the kids as well from principals that I’ve talked with.” Fludd said. “I’ve made it my goal to also visit the schools that the kids attend who are in the program.”
If you’d like to get involved or learn more you can visit http://www.lhicliteracy.org/ or call 843.323.9367.
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