Southwest Little Rock has been an area of emphasis for the AR Kids Read team since the inception of
the program in 2012. Denise Holley, literacy specialist at Baseline Elementary, said that “we need
role models who will invest in our children that show concern and compassion.” The AR Kids Read
team has been searching for individuals who fit Ms. Holley’s mold, and we are thrilled to say that a
group of individuals has answered the call.
A group of tutors from both the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and Staley Electric have teamed up to
help narrow the gap in grade level reading in Southwest Little Rock schools. Individuals from each
company have decided to do something about the need of so many children in that often overlooked
part of town.
Chemia Woods from the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas said “we love assisting the students in the
Southwest Little Rock region; I’m already amazed at the progress my students have made!” Tutors like
her are making a difference in the lives of children in Southwest Little Rock. According to Ms. Holley,
“the children are thrilled to see the tutors and the relationships that are blossoming are building
confidence and self-esteem in the children.”
Another tutor from the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Lori Burrows, asked one of her students what
her favorite part of the book they had just read together. The student responded with a smile and no
hesitation proclaiming “reading it with you!” Burrows decided to help when she realized that 40% of
Arkansas 4th graders are reading below grade level and her response was rewarded with a compliment
from the heart of a child.
The time you spend with a child as a reading tutor means so much to them, and there are many children
in Southwest Little Rock who still need help. The commitment of the individuals from the Electric
Cooperatives of Arkansas and Staley Electric together are a model of how to reach an area of need.
They answered the call together and their concern and passion are making a difference.