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‘Road to Success' founders gear up for another successful school year

By Nadine Wimmer | Posted - Aug. 16, 2010 at 6:15 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- As the school year approaches, the Ken Garff Road to Success reading program is revving its engines. In the Jordan School District, they're fueled with new evidence that this program is making a difference on test scores.

Road to Success students are rewarded with everything from crazy hair makeovers for their teachers to new bicycles, when they reach their reading goals.
Road to Success students are rewarded with everything from crazy hair makeovers for their teachers to new bicycles, when they reach their reading goals.

Educators have gotten crazy hair makeovers, gone skydiving, and spent the day on the school roof to help students reach their reading goals with the Ken Garff Road to Success program.

Students along the Wasatch Front are encouraged to read 20 minutes a day. Teachers track the minutes, and kids get a chance to win prizes -- including coveted bikes at the end of the year.

Behind all the fun is a serious desire to make a difference.

"The literacy program is what we came up with. What is the foundation of everything? It's reading," says Kathi Garff, with Road to Success.

Thank you cards flood Garff company offices. But now they've got evidence the program is helping students read.

Program leaders tracked the first group of participating schools. Standardized scores were headed down, but reversed when the Road to Success came on board.


"Ninety-five percent of all administrators feel that it's adding to their curriculum and helping motivate students; so that's absolutely huge, and we couldn't be more happy." Robert Garff, Road to Success

In their second group of schools, they saw the same trend: declining scores turned around when the program started.

"It definitely is one of the things that is showing some positive impact," says Kathy Wittke, elementary literacy consultant for the Jordan School District.

The surveys also show school administrators value the program.

"Ninety-five percent of all administrators feel that it's adding to their curriculum and helping motivate students; so that's absolutely huge, and we couldn't be more happy," says Robert Garff, with Road to Success.

But they say more than the stats, it's the students.

"We just want to help children become their best selves," Kathi Garff says.

So, Read to Success is gearing for another school year of enthusiastic reading.

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

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Nadine Wimmer

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