Rotary Reading Rangers



Need   Vision  Opportunity  Volunteer  Model  Results  Contact

The Need – Why Rangers?

41% of Durham Students are below grade level on NC reading test                                           (According to )

  • Partner with East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) –

–      EDCI provides Cradle to College help to families

–      Focus on East Durham and schools listed below

–      Rotary Reading Rangers established in Sept. 2012

  •  YE Smith Elementary

–      350 students (Grades K-5) – 98% Free & Reduced (F&R) lunch

–      32% failed the Reading Test

–      Literacy Block 09-11 daily

–      Readers Workshop 2:45-3:45 daily

–      Friday Clubs – present a hobby

  • Neal Middle School

–      600 Students – 90% F&R – 30% Failed Reading

–      0720-0800 daily morning reading program Intervention Correction Experience (ICE)

–      Need 14 tutors daily Mon-Thurs and every other Friday 

–      Reading the same book collectively

  • Southern High School

–      This is the frontier hope to grow to support the high school soon


The Vision

The vision of the Rotary Reading Rangers is simple: to get as many volunteers as possible into the schools to help children improve their literacy skills.  The ultimate goal is to create an easily replicated model that may be used in any school to add “Rangers” to their volunteer base.  Rangers are not limited to Rotarians.  Rotary has stepped up to provide leadership, organization, and coordination to the idea, but anyone willing and able to help read with a child is welcome to join.

Currently, we are attempting to get to our literacy goals (every child on grade level in reading) using different “tracks”.

We have what we term as “Volunteers” these are people whose schedule does not allow a consistent commitment and these people try to do what they when they can.  These people would coordinate with the school and expect to be flexible; seeing different students each time they come and working on different skill levels.

Our “Regular Volunteers” are people who are willing to commit at least an hour per week to provide consistency to a child.  Regular Volunteers will be assigned a single child or small group of children to work with every week.  The children look forward to their Ranger time, and the Regular get a great deal of satisfaction in seeing their students improve.

Regular Volunteers and Volunteers are welcome to attend “Ranger Training.”  This training conducted as needed to provide insight into the school curriculum, the vocabulary used within the school for the students, some tricks and tips to help Rangers help their students.  We have general training provided by the school.  Rotary has also had several volunteers learn the Orton-Gillingham approach and Wilson Reading System® materials via the Augustine Project.  This multisensory phonetic teaching approach is research based and proven to be highly effective.    Our Augustine Rangers are willing to share what they have learned and will provide training and mentoring to anyone interested.    If a Ranger is truly turned on by what they see and wish to receive deeper training, we can introduce those interested parties to the good folks at the Augustine Project and Durham Literacy Council.  The Durham Literacy Council is focused on training people to teach adults.   One never has to feel inadequate to help read with a child, the Ranger Program will help as much as we can to ensure your experience is positive.

In the immortal words or Dr. Seuss “you are never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”

If we could get enough volunteers into the schools, we could significantly improve the literacy skill of our kids – our future.

Please consider joining the Rangers and help us “git to literacy” for every child.



  • Reading with Students

–      As a “Regular Volunteer”

  • Regular weekly commitment =1 hour per week
  • Same time, same student
  • Tag Team: Partner with someone and “tag team” – 2 or more people can work with one child or time frame and coordinate schedules with the tag team partner such that the child is regularly seen but the Rangers don’t have to commit every week.
  • Training and Mentoring available

–      Ranger Training – by school administration

–      Augustine Trained Mentors provide tips and techniques

–      Augustine Project Training

–      As a “Volunteer”

  • Do what you can when you can
  • Work with School:

–      YE Smith Elementary

  • Friday Clubs – share a hobby or passion to a small group of interested students on Friday
  • PTA Presentation – to parents
  • Assembly Speaker – to group of students
  • Special Events – Rangers are often asked to assist with special events
    • Judges for the annual Spelling Bee
    • Support special assemblies or speakers
    • Share insights or travels
      • Had a presentation on Antarctica
      • Coordinated a Video Conference with a school in India

–      Neal Middle

  • TBD

–       Work with EDCI



How to join The Posse!

–      With a Civic Organization

–      Enter “Downtown Durham Rotary”  you don’t have to be a Rotarian.

–      Select Y E Smith Elementary or Neal Middle School

–      Select Reading as the type of volunteer.

–      All this information will ensure your name gets on the filtered list we receive from DPS

  • Once you have received your approval from DPS, contact Todd Taylor ( to coordinate your day and time with the school.  Please let us know:

–      Preferred Day: Monday – Friday

–      Preferred Time: YE Smith has Literacy Block from 0900-1100 – this is where you read one on one with a student or small group.  OR in the afternoon (2:45-3:45 PM) YE Smith does “Readers Workshop” where you are a facilitator, ensuring the student chooses an appropriate book for his/her skill level, and you can then assist the student while they read.

–      Preferred Grade:  If you have a preference.  Some people like the little kids (grades K-2) some prefer the older students (grades 3-5). If you don’t have a preference, just let us know.


The Model



The Results

In 2013-2013

  • 52 Rangers signed up and assisted over 80 children
  • 58 Children (K-3) received consistent Tutor intervention
  • 48 of those children advanced one or more level on the MClass Scale
  • 83% showed improvement!


In 2013-2014

  • 32 Rangers
  • Over 600 volunteer hours in YE Smith alone, meaning we effectively added 66 days to the school year for the students we worked with.
  • Every student showed improvement and some students gained as much as a year and half’s worth of growth.
  • We allowed the professional educators (the teachers) to focus more time on the remaining children in the class.
  • Rangers provide experiences, enlightenment and context to the things taught in school.

In 2014-2015

  • 35 Rangers
  • Mid term growth is reported to show improvement for all students working with Rangers.



Todd Taylor – (919) 680-5030 – Coordinator of Rotary Reading Rangers –

YE Smith Liaison – (919) 560-3900 Asst. Principal Darlene Escudero

Other useful Links:                                                                East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI)    Durham Literacy Center                                                             EDGE Training and Placement                                                  YMCA of the Triangle Area                                         Augustine Project                                                      Loaves and Fishes Ministry                                    Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocates!                          BootstrapsPAC