Article contributed by Shona Howard

As the pastor of Smith Street Baptist Church, Willie Finney, Jr., was keenly aware of the need to minister to all of God’s children. However, it was by the grace of God that the vision to start a tutoring program came to him through a simple conversation about barriers faced by our Bibb County students. From this discussion, a collaboration with Pastor Don Hodges was formed and the We Read, We Achieve program was birthed.

The We Read We Achieve (WRWA) desires to establish a collaborative relationship with parents and other Bibb County stakeholders to help increase the reading and literacy levels of our elementary students. The goal of the We Read, We Achieve program is to impact the lives of the youth within our community by supplementing and reinforcing what they have learned inside the classroom. By receiving our tutoring services in a safe, supportive environment, the students will not only improve their study skills but also make productive use of their time outside of school. These valuable skills will prove quite useful as they pursue their future academic and career goals.

Through a partnership with Mercer University, we are able to provide these tutoring services. We will also solicit the volunteer services of middle and high school student members of Honor Society Clubs who are seeking service hours. Our operations will be provided on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. As this present time we have 40+ students whose parents have signed them up for our program. However, our goal is to offer our services to 30 students at each of our two locations – 60 students total.

The software program that we will be utilizing, Reading A-Z, can be found at At this website there are more than 2,500 downloadable books in addition to thousands of teaching and learning materials. Because it is delivered over the Internet, Reading A-Z is a constantly changing program. Each month, Reading A-Z adds new books, lesson plans, and other resources, thus continually expanding its wealth of materials.



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