About Prosperity 2020

Prosperity 2020 is the largest business-led movement ever assembled in Utah to advance educational investment and innovation. The partnership includes 21 chambers of commerce, economic development entities, and other education-minded entities funded by business. The vision of Prosperity 2020 is for the state’s educated and trained workforce to propel Utah to enduring prosperity, improved quality of life and the strongest economy in the nation. Learn more by visiting www.prosperity2020.com

Thousands of Utah children are reading at grade level because of Utah volunteers

Thousands of Utah children are reading at grade level today because of the generous commitment of Utah volunteers. These volunteers give the gift of a lifetime – the ability to read.

Thursday evening, communities in Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake and South Jordan crowded into Larry H. Miller theaters to celebrate the successes with dinner and movie – this time, a movie about what literacy and the efforts of these volunteers mean to the communities and to our state.

Read Today volunteers spend an hour or two each week with struggling readers who started the year below grade level. The personalized tutoring and encouragement helps students build core reading skills. By the end of the 2013 school year, 85 percent of these readers were reading at grade level.

That is potentially life-changing. A child who reads is more likely to enjoy learning and feel successful, which increases motivation in school and personal feelings of worth and accomplishment. He or she has the tools for learning. Children who can read well in elementary school are much less likely to drop out of high school. They’re more likely to attend college. A host of other benefits accompany higher education, including better jobs, civic participation and responsibility, volunteerism, and greater stability. Research shows that reading matters.

The child isn’t the only one whose life changes. Volunteers are often touched by the experience as well. Companies like Larry H. Miller and Questar have each committed more than 50 volunteers to help. Other volunteers are private citizens. A significant number are retirees who have found a valuable way to help build their communities. Many of these volunteers saying tutoring is one of the highlights of their week.

Questar’s CEO Ron Jibson wrote of the experience, “We strongly urge and recommend other companies’ participation in this rewarding experience. The return… is exponentially greater than the expenditure required, and the rewards experienced cannot be duplicated elsewhere.”

At the celebration, Utah’s Governor and First Lady Herbert explained that efforts like these contribute immeasurably to our state’s education goals. Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie said there’s nothing more important we can do for education in Utah than to spend time helping children learn to read. Read Today helps build a stronger foundation for reading, which provides a foundation for everything else.

Alan Hall, chair of Prosperity 2020, concluded by saying, “We are a culture that values education. Our efforts as volunteers teaching children to read show them that we, as a society, care about education.”

For more information about Read Today or to volunteer, check out www.readtoday.com.