North Charleston - Reading Partners is giving the gift of literacy to local students.
Fourth grader Mahogany Mcintosh loves books of all kinds.
"I like non-fiction, fiction, it's December so Christmas time I read Christmas books mainly," Mcintosh said.
Mahogany also loves reading with her Reading Partner volunteer Susan Pearce.
"Mrs. Susan is the best, she helps me with some words and helps me sound them out nicely," Mcintosh said.
Pearce shares her time two days out of the week with the nonprofit national literacy program.
The program is meant to help students from Kindergarten through fifth grade with one-on-one reading help. Volunteers want to close the gap and get students on track.
"It's the best thing you could possibly do and I look forward to it every week," Pearce said.
Available in 17 Title I schools in the state, Reading Partners is helping thousands of kids develop their reading skills.
Program Coordinator Brooke Emmonds says the criteria to become a reading buddy is simple.
"We have volunteers from 15 to 80 and anyone can be a volunteer and make a difference. All you need is a new tutor orientation and complete a background check," Emmonds said.
With the help of the Chythia Graham -Hurd foundation named in honor of former librarian Chythia Graham- Hurd, more than 4,000 books have been donated to reading partners.
After each weekly session, every child gets a book to keep.
"We are very thankful to be the beneficiary of the foundation and they have helped us fill up our library," Emmonds said.
For students like Mahogany, the program has made all the difference in her reading progress.
"I love it, it's the best thing that happened to me it has made me smart," Mcintosh said.
"This holiday season I think one of the best things you can give is your time and helping a student get back to grade level reading," Emmonds said.
Reading Partners is available in Charleston County, Florence County and Berkeley County.
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