In the 2013-14 academic year, more than 900 Minnesota schools will be providing students additional help in achieving academic success in the face of sobering statewide statistics.

Those schools have been named Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps sites to proactively help with literacy and math learning issues facing many Minnesota students.

According to data from last year's state standardized tests, 40 percent of Minnesota of eighth graders do not demonstrate proficiency in math. Equally sobering is the statistic that one-in-five third graders are not reading at grade level.

Spring Grove Public Schools (SGPS) participates in the Minnesota Reading Corps, which is a statewide program to help every Minnesota child become a successful reader by the end of third grade.

The program places trained AmeriCorps tutors and community volunteers in schools, where they work with children from age three to grade three who are at risk for not reading at grade level.

AmeriCorps tutors provide individualized research-based interventions and instruction directly to children.

Currently SGPS has an opening for a reading tutor. If you are interested, see the classified ad on page 11 or visit online at www.minnesotareadingcorps.org.

Minnesota Reading Corps sees 80 percent of third graders who successfully completed the program - all of whom previously were not on track to succeed - pass the statewide reading exam. This matches Minnesota's overall pass rate.

Research shows that when students get off to a poor start academically, they rarely catch up with other students.

For example, the 2011 Hernandez study noted that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school.

Piippo noted that there's reason to be optimistic. In the context of literacy, research supports that 95 percent of all children have the capacity to learn to read proficiently if effective interventions are provided.

Piippo encourages anyone who is interested in making a difference in the lives of struggling students to consider becoming tutors.

To learn more visit www.MinnesotaReadingCorps.org or call toll-free 1-866-859-2825.