Southeastern NEWS Southeastern Louisiana University University Relations Office SLU 880, Hammond, LA 70402 504/549-2341/fax 504-549-2061 email@example.com www.selu.edu/NewsEvents Date: 05/04/98 Contact: Amber Danos 25 AMERICA READS WEEK HELD AT SLU HAMMOND -- More than 350 books were brought to Southeastern when the university held America Reads Week for the first time April 20-24. The America Reads program consists of Southeastern student tutors who visit different elementary schools in surrounding areas to help students with reading. Michael Taranto, the SLU senior who helped initiate the program on campus, said he brought America Reads to President Sally Clausen s attention after listening to President Clinton s State of the Union address last year. I heard in Clinton s address that 40 percent of third graders in America can not read by themselves, and I felt Southeastern could do something to help, Taranto said. It is important for SLU students to take part in the program because it creates an important link between Southeastern and the community, Taranto said. Hopefully, America Reads Week helped to further promote the program and motivated people to participate. During America Reads week the program had a very successful book donation drive, Taranto said. Many of the books were donated by Scholastic Book Fairs of Covington, managed by Darin Bergstein. Other books were donated by SLU faculty and students. Also during America Reads Week Southeastern students and faculty, including Clausen, visited area schools to read to the children. America Reads Week was very successful, but the program itself has also been successful, Taranto said. The program s planning began in spring 1997. Our first tutors were involved fall of 1997, and this semester over 258 elementary students from 11 different schools were tutored. America Reads is really in need of more tutors, so that more of the children can benefit from the program, Taranto said. SLU students who qualify for Federal Work Study can earn up to $5.95 per hour working for the program, but volunteers are also welcome. The program will continue throughout the summer, and tutors will be needed. All those interested in the America Reads program can contact Taranto at 549-5275.