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GM gives $1M for literacy program

Too many students in Detroit Public Schools Community District are unable to read at grade level. Beyond Basics is an organization with a mission to get students back on track. 

On Feb. 3, reporters from local media came to Mumford High School to see General Motors make a $1 million donation to Beyond Basics’ Be the Solution literacy campaign. 

“Beyond Basics delivers outstanding results that are real, measurable and impactful,” GM president Mark Reuss said at the press conference. 

Reuss said the grant from GM will give Beyond Basics the ability to reach 500 students. 

Beyond Basics tutors students one-on-one with the goal of having them reach grade level within 6-12 weeks.

Senior Makayla Link spoke at the press conference about her experience working with Beyond Basics during her ninth and 10th grade years. 

“Big books used to scare me,” Link said. “I really felt like they were trying to tell me I couldn't read at first, but it got to the point where I started to read more.”

Kimberly Lyons tutors at Mumford but will soon be leaving to become the program coordinator for Beyond Basics at Pershing. She said they have strategies to work with students at different levels and with different needs. 

“We know it works because it’s been tested,” Lyons said.

It worked for senior Jataya Benson who volunteered to be in the program when she was in ninth grade. She said the testing when she started showed that she wasn’t very far below grade level, but she was struggling with vocabulary and fluency. 

“It was fun,” Benson said. “I went for an hour every day for six weeks, and at the end the test showed I went up three or four grade levels. I was a lot more confident reading aloud in front of my peers, and it made it easier to write papers that didn’t sound like an eighth grader wrote it.”


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