United Way of Central Georgia Releases Mid-Year Read United Progress Report

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Friday, March 6th, 2020

As we’ve reached the middle of the school year in Central Georgia, United Way of Central Georgia’s READ UNITED program is proud to release our mid-year progress report.

The READ UNITED team kicked off the 2019-2020 school year with the highest number of volunteers ever. The program had 182 volunteer tutors starting the 2016 school year and that’s grown to 293 tutors this year. Thanks to the work of the volunteers, READ UNITED has served 166 classrooms and 709 individual students so far this school year. Those numbers are expected to grow as more volunteers join in as the year progresses.

READ UNITED currently serves children in Central Georgia meeting criteria that shows them significantly behind grade level reading in kindergarten through third grade. The testing assessment is different from kindergarten/ 1st grade and 2nd/3rd, so they are separated into two categories:

Grade level

Start of year


RU GOAL (end of Year)

Kindergarten (Bibb)




First (Bibb)




All students accepted into READ United were significantly behind grade-level reading to start the year. Kindergarteners should be at about 500 on the early literacy assessment and first graders should be at about 600 to start the year. Despite starting significantly behind, their mid-year growth projects these students to meet or surpass their end of year goals.

Grade level

Start of year


RU GOAL (end of Year)

Second (Bibb)




Third (Bibb)




Second and third graders accepted into the 2019-2020 school year READ UNITED programs average 1.5 years behind grade level reading. A lot of the 2nd graders were reading at a level expected of them in kindergarten to start this school. Mid-year projections predict the second graders will reach mid-300s in their end of year scores, falling short of goal. Our predictions place third grade students reaching very close to the 547 goal, which sets them up for success in 4th grade.

“Third grade reading level is the single greatest predictor of high school graduation rates,” said Shelton Land, United Way of Central Georgia Education Program Manager. “We truly are making an impact on these children’s lives as tutors and mentors. Now, we’d just like to help even more.”

As a point of reference: Last year, NONE of the READ UNITED third graders in Bibb County at the start of the school year were reading on grade-level. By the end of the school year, 89% of those same students had achieved grade-level reading or better.