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A local organization is helping students excel in school through stories.

This week’s community champion is improving kids’ reading skills and building close relationships.

When you walk into the reading room at NorthStar 360 near N. 49th Ave., the only sounds you will hear are the turning of pages.

Students are spread around the room with their noses inside books.

That’s because they are going through reading intervention.

“Our reading intervention program is designed to support students in the area of academics and everything under that umbrella,” Director of Education Jim Stevens said.

Stevens said students come from about 25 different schools across the metro and seats are filling up fast.

“We start every year at zero and we grow from there. We have about 250 kids in the system and by the end of the year we might be somewhere closer to 600,” Stevens said.

Each student goes through testing to find their reading level and volunteers help them reach higher levels.

“You can take a student and go from a deficit to on-grade level and you can go from on-grade level to exceeding,” Stevens said.

It’s not only about improving academically. Volunteer Yvonne Williams said it’s also about building meaningful relationships.

“They know that the person cares about them because they are taking the time out of their own personal schedule. They are always trying to do their best for that person (the volunteer),” Williams said.

And she said students have shown great success.

“Last year of the students I worked with, all of them excelled above the level that they started out at,” she said.

By Niyah Gonzalez, KETV Reporter // Aug 30, 2019