Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have a background or a degree in education?
Absolutely not! All you need is a servant’s spirit and a willing heart! We will train you how to use a basic sight word list. We welcome any volunteer over 18 years of age.
What are foundational words?
Foundational words are called sight words. The list we use are 1,000 words that educator, Edward Fry, determined a reader must recognize and understand ON SIGHT. Fry Words are divided into levels of 100 words, and these levels are roughly equal to grade levels. To show how important these words are, the first 300 words on the list represent about 67% of all the words students will encounter in their reading.
Why focus on Fry Words?
The National Institute for Literacy states,“Having a bank of sight words releases a reader’s attention needed for comprehension and for figuring out more difficult and less frequent words.” In other words, more brain cells are freed up for other aspects of reading.
What about phonics?
Our coaches do not use phonics. Team Read strives to assist the classroom teacher by teaching the children to memorize the Fry Words. A study by Shelby County Schools (SCS) showed second-graders who received one-on-one coaching gained nearly twice as many foundational words in a year as students who received no coaching. The Team Read program is approved by the Shelby County School Board. We need YOU to help see it implemented in our schools.
Do you need lots of volunteers for churches to make this work?
One volunteer can help two students. Start there. It can start with YOU!
How much time does it take?
Volunteers give one-hour-once-a- week from approximately mid-September–May 1. We follow the SCS calendar, which includes holidays, testing days, and field trips.
What is the most essential element for Team Read?
The most essential element is finding faithful, committed, and FLEXIBLE volunteers!
When can I coach/tutor?
Schedules vary by school, however opportunities to coach are available during school-hours on regular school days.
How many students does one coach have?
A coach will have two students every hour, one at a time. That’s 30 minutes each; although by the time you get settled, it’s 20–23 minutes per child. And, the time goes by fast!
What does a typical routine look like for Team Read volunteers?
A typical routine works like this:  the coach arrives fifteen minutes before his/her scheduled time. First you check in at the school office, locate our coaching area, and pull your materials. Then, at the scheduled time, you will go to the classroom to pick-up your first student. When time is finished, walk your first student back to the classroom, and pick-up the second child. You will repeat this routine each time you volunteer.
I’m ready to get involved. How do I start?

All volunteers MUST ATTEND a Team Read training. You may sign-up at online or email Sara Jerkins.

How long does the ARISE2Read training last?
Our trainings are about an hour and a half long. You will hear from a member of the SCS board who will review SCS policies. You will also learn about the required fingerprinting and background checks. All volunteers must complete both of these areas through SCS, no previous background checks or fingerprinting are considered valid.