Support our $3.5 million Unleashed to Succeed Capital Campaign
The Reading Center’s mission is to serve individuals impacted by dyslexia, a neurobiological difference in the way approximately 1:5 people learn to read. Unremediated dyslexia results in literacy problems in our state and community – increasing drop-out rates, the likelihood of incarceration, and contributing to lower wages and standard of living. Decades of statewide test scores show perpetual underperformance of Minnesota’s students in the skill of reading. We are confident that at least some of the persistent 40% of students who test below a basic level in reading, are likely dyslexic.
Individuals who have dyslexia are bright and can learn to read, though they require special instruction not offered in public schools. The National Reading Panel identified the Orton-Gillingham based approach as one of the few methods that is successful. That is what we offer: student access to highly trained Orton-Gillingham tutors (in-person or online), and training for teachers and other adults in the approach. The Orton-Gillingham Approach is multi-sensory, phonetic instruction that is tailored to each individual – not a curriculum. And while it is crucial for dyslexic learners to be taught in this way, it has the added benefit of helping all students learn the skill of reading.
While housed in Rochester, The Reading Center is a state-wide resource for students, parents and educators. Over the past five years, our students and trainees have come from 46 Minnesota counties, including metro counties, where resources for dyslexia learning problems are scarce and often expensive. In 2017, we began offering many of our services online – extensive tutoring hours, student classes, testing, and Orton-Gillingham training, resulting in a significant expansion of our geographic reach.
Dyslexia is an underfunded condition that affects a large portion of the population. Insurance companies, Medicaid and government funds are typically not available for families with a dyslexic child to receive help. The Reading Center raises private funds for scholarships so we can keep our costs to families and trainees low. We do not want to turn anyone away due to an inability to afford help.
2018 marks the third year of a three year capacity building effort to grow our service capability before moving into a new building in 2019. We have added $500,000 to our expenditures in our 2016-2018 budgets to help us train and hire new staff. And we are on track to serve 50% more students by the end of 2018.
We have moved only three times in 65 years, and are currently in a facility that is one-quarter the size that an architectural usage-study shows that we require. A new, right-sized building will enable us to hold more tutoring, trainings, classes, professional development, and outreach opportunities on site. It will provide visibility and give help to more struggling readers in the metro area and statewide.
Our building budget is $3 million. To date, we have received a $1.5 million bonding investment from the state of Minnesota, recognizing our statewide impact. We have also raised over $1 million in private funds.
Thank you for your financial support toward our capital campaign - you are truly helping bring the gift of reading to our students!