Team Read Creator Reflects on 20 Years of Reading Success

Joan Dore is a legend in the Team Read community. Joan was working at Seattle Public Schools in 1997 as the district’s Reading Programs Manager, and she played the leading role in developing the Team Read concept. Joan also went on to serve on our Board of Directors, and she has devoted countless hours to supporting the program as an adviser, trainer, curriculum developer and long-term donor.

As Team Read celebrates its 20th anniversary, we asked Joan to look back at those early years, and the dream that became a thriving program …

 

Hi Joan!  Thank you, from all of us, for helping to create Team Read. What made you want to help with the initial planning and implementation of the program? 

Well, Craig and Susan McCaw (local business leaders) came to Superintendent John Stanford and said they wanted to help the district with reading, and they offered to make a donation to help lead this effort. I called more than a dozen people who knew about reading and said, ‘If money was no object, what would you want to do in our schools to improve reading?’ I got a ton of ideas, I sifted through them, and I came up with several proposals.  I presented them to the McCaws, and they selected the Team Read model.

 

How did the program idea originate?

I based the Team Read model on a cross-age tutoring program I ran when I was a teacher at B.F. Day Elementary. I trained the fifth graders to work with first graders, and it went really well, so that’s where I got the original idea for the model.

Reading is so crucial to success in school and life, and the Team Read model supplemented what we were doing in the school district. It gave students an extra shot of reading. It helped the younger kids, but it was very exciting for the older kids too, to have a job and see results. I was glad to be a part of the early development.

 

What has been your proudest moment during your time with Team Read? 

What warms my heart the most is when I visit sites and see the kids working and see their pride in what they’re doing. Every time I visit the sites, I feel the greatest joy.

We’ve served more than 18,000 kids – that’s a big impact!

 

Where did you imagine the program would be 20 years after its inception?

I would have hoped and dreamed that it would be where it is, but at first, it was just a hope and a dream, and I wasn’t sure it would come true. I want Team Read to keep on keeping on!  I want it to never lose its core values. I want it to go from 18,000 students served to 40,000!