Transforming Readers Program Launches in Five Scranton Elementary Schools

Scranton, PA (February 13, 2019) – The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties is collaborating with Voluntary Action Center, the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging and the Scranton School District on Transforming Readers -- a school-based tutoring program to help Kindergarten – 2nd grade students become better readers. 
Research shows that reading proficiency by the end of third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. “Essentially, children are learning to read from birth through 3rd grade,” noted Lisa Berardelli, Director of Education for the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties. “However, beginning in 4th grade, children read to learn so it’s crucial that they reach this important milestone in early grade literacy.”
Trained Transforming Readers volunteers work with the children on a consistent, weekly basis one-on-one or in small groups directly in the elementary school classrooms with activities specially designed by school staff. The program was piloted last year in John F. Kennedy and McNichols Plaza Elementary Schools in Scranton with initial results indicating a minimum 10 percent improvement in reading assessments pre- and post-program.
Due to the early successes of the program and the generous support of PPL Foundation’s Cover to Cover initiative to improve child literacy, Transforming Readers has grown to serve five Scranton area elementary schools as John Adams, Charles Sumner and Whittier Elementary have joined Kennedy and McNichols Plaza in offering the program to their students. The spring program launched last week.
As part of the Transforming Readers launch, every pre-kindergarten – 3rd grade student in each of the five participating schools received a new book to take home courtesy of the Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency (SLHDA) Early Learning programs and the Molina Foundation which provides free books and other resources to children and families so they can read and learn together.
For more information about the program, please visit or the United Way at (570) 343-1267.
Transforming Readers at Whittier - 2019Pictured above from left, standing are: Patty Hein, Reading Specialst at Whittier Elementary; Tim Wolff, Principal at Whittier Elementary; Tiziana Mancini and Alma Storm, Transforming Readers volunteers. Seated, same order are: Angela Walker, Transition/Literacy Manager for Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency Early Learning program; Diane Brown, RSVP Director at Voluntary Action Center and Lisa Berardelli, Education Director at United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.
Students Receive Books to Take Home
To celebrate the spring launch of the Transforming Readers program, Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency (SLHDA) Early Learning programs distributed books to pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade students at each of the five participating Transforming Readers elementary schools in Scranton, courtesty of a generous grant from the Molina Foundation. Pictured are: Tim Wolff, Principal of Whittier Elementary and Angela Walker, Transition/Literacy Manager for SLHDA Early Learning programs with pre-kindergarten and 1st grade students receiving their books at Whittier Elementary.