Helping Kids Gain Literacy Skills with Wayne Township’s HOSTS Program

HOSTS (which stands for Help One Student to Succeed) began decades ago in the Wayne Township Metropolitan School District to help students with reading and literacy skills. Since the beginning, the program has worked with students in need of additional reading resources. 

With the HOSTS program, members of the community can sign up to read with children. It’s a simple concept, but an important one: Research shows that one-to-one mentoring helps young readers increase their self-esteem, attend school more regularly and increases their reading ability faster than large groups in the classroom. 

How HOSTS Works 

Individuals can register at hosts.wayne.k12.in.us, and select a time that works for them. Business owners can encourage employees to give back by granting an extended lunch hour or supporting an employee’s willingness to volunteer. 

In the classroom, volunteers are paired with two children: each for one 30-minute period. Each child reads a book of their choosing to the volunteer, and the volunteer guides them and helps them with words they might struggle with. Then, the volunteer and student do a short, reflective worksheet or game that reinforces what they’ve learned. 

Each school has a HOSTS instructor who is present during the entire hour, helping to facilitate the sessions and give guidance to mentors if they have questions.

How to Help

According to HOSTS, Wayne Township serves 400 students in second and third grade. After six months with the HOSTS program, nearly 99 percent of second and third graders advanced two or more reading levels through this process. 

With 11 elementary schools in the Wayne Township district, it takes nearly 1,000 volunteers to make the program a success. Each fall, HOSTS ask the community to join in for the cause. If you’d like to volunteer with HOSTS, or for more information about the program, visit hosts.wayne.k12.in.us

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