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GreaterGood grant helps Chicago children

GreaterGood.org will underwrite a year-long literacy program for an inner city second grade class in Chicago. The nonprofit SitStayRead will provide literacy volunteers, both human and canine, to work with the second graders throughout the school year to improve their reading and writing skills.

In February, The Economist Group’s charitable trust awarded a grant to GreaterGood.org designed to support an education project based in the United States. GreaterGood.org was chosen as the recipient following a staff vote at The Economist Group to select worthwhile charities.

GreaterGood.org decided to donate this funding, nearly $12,000, to SitStayRead. Using "reading dogs" to break the ice and engage reluctant readers, SitStayRead has a proven record of increasing reading comprehension and speed. Students also work on writing projects based on the classroom visits. As the year progresses, guest readers, such as opera singers and fire fighters, come into the classroom to expose the children to a multitude of careers, encouraging them to continue their efforts in class and making them aware of the importance of reading.

"We’re very grateful to The Economist Group for providing the funding to enable us to support an entire year’s worth of sessions for one school’s second grade," said Lisa Halstead, board president of GreaterGood.org. "And we are equally impressed with the quality of the program provided by SitStayRead. Through their innovative use of dogs and their dedicated volunteers, they have made an amazing impact on the lives of the children that they serve."

In one second grade class, teachers and volunteers observed a selective mute child, who would not speak to those around her, whisper-read to the SitStayRead dog during visits. Other testimonials from the program speak of children making sudden breakthroughs in reading comprehension as well as becoming excited about school and possible career paths after visits from the guest readers.

"Thanks to the generous support of GreaterGood.org and The Economist Group, an entire class of second-graders at Hendricks Academy in Chicago’s inner-city will receive the full-year SitStayRead program," said MaryEllen Schneider, SitStayRead’s executive director. "The memories of a year spent reading and writing with SitStayRead volunteers and dog teams will last a lifetime and so will the reading fluency skills the students gain along the way."

More on SitStayRead



GreaterGood.org is a Seattle-based nonprofit that supports projects to alleviate poverty and hunger, promote peace, address cancer and other widespread health problems, foster literacy and provide education, preserve vital habitats in peril, and provide protection and care to vulnerable animals. It works with more than eighty charitable partners throughout the world.

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