The Brightside: Program helps people start a new chapter in their lives

WICOMICO Co., Md. – For several years now, a program in Wicomico County has been helping people start a new chapter in their lives. People, like Bobbie Joe Peck, who is a big fan of books.

Peck spends a great deal of her time flipping through the pages of a novel.

Peck said, “I love reading.”

That’s what attracted her to the Project READ program at the Wicomico County Library.

Bobbie Joe Peck said, “When I first started, I was at an eighth grade reading comprehension level, now I am up to an 11th grade level.”

Project READ provides people like Bobbie Joe with one on one tutoring to help them with their reading skills.

Peck said, “It feels really good.”

In Wicomico County, about 10 percent of people have trouble reading.

Wynette Curtis, a Project READ Coordinator said, “If you know you’re an adult who has reading issues then you avoid social situations, you avoid situations where you have to read, you kind of become closed off.”

When Project READ first launched, they knew about the statistics in Wicomico County, but they were still blown away by the amount of people who wanted to take part in the program.

Curtis said, “It just keeps growing and growing because there is a need in our local community for literate workers, literate parents.”

We’re told people of all ages and backgrounds sign up.

Curtis said, “The youngest person we’ve had in the program was 21 and the oldest person we had in the program was 80.”

For some, the difference the program makes is life changing.

Curtis said, “I have a young lady who came into the program just barely knew her ABC’s and now she is reading fourth grade chapter books.”

For others, it gives them a sense of confidence.

Curtis said, “Their self esteem just skyrockets.”

In the case of Bobbie Joe, it gave her the courage to pursue her dreams.  Not long after joining Project READ, Bobbie Joe published her first book called Wild Vacation… and thanks to the help of her tutor, she may have another book in the works.

Peck said, “Hint hint, there might be another book in the future because I’m editing one and it’s called Torn Apart.”

Project READ is made possible by volunteers. If you’re interested in becoming a tutor, you can call the library at 410-749-3612 Ext. 140 and ask to speak to the Volunteer Coordinator.

Categories: Brightside, Local News, Maryland