CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Scores of local students are learning how to make their dreams come true, thanks to a program headed by former Cleveland Browns coach Sam Rutigliano.
The Aiming Higher reading program is designed for at-risk grade school students, because experts say if children can’t read well by the end of third grade, they tend to fall behind and chances are good they’ll drop out.
The program introduces kids to community leaders and even teaches physical fitness, but the main focus is literacy.
“I know paragraphs a lot more now, I learned about lives of people and I learned about behavior,” said Dylan Vallejo, third grader at Almira Elementary in Cleveland. “You have to be respectful to others, be nice to the teacher, don’t shout out, raise your hand and always listen to the teacher.”
“I like that we can read because it’s good to learn more,” said third grader Michael Lynn.
The program also enjoys community support, recently getting a $40,000 Cy Pres award from the Dworken & Bernstein law firm.
“I’ve been doing this a long time and kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Rutigliano. “It’s really working, just helping these young kids and seeing that in the third grade they’re going to learn how to read and they’re going to get the chance to go to high school and hopefully to college.”