Redbird Readers Registration!

Redbird Readers Registration!

Adult Literacy Program

Registration is now underway for the 2017-2018 ISU Redbird Readers Program. The mission of the program is to provide an opportunity for individuals with Down syndrome to maintain and build upon their academic skills. The program is available to all persons with Down syndrome who are at least 18 years of age (with priority given to those out of high school) and who live within a thirty (30) mile radius of Bloomington /Normal

From Redbird Readers Coordinator, Kelli Appel,

We are excited to share this wonderful opportunity for both adults with Down syndrome and ISU students. Our program meets both semesters at ISU Milner Library on Monday nights from 6:15-7:30. We typically have 16 participants (participants are 18 years are older) and 32 tutors. Our tutors are ISU students that volunteer weekly- and many times for multiple semesters.  Most of the tutors are special education or speech therapy majors. Each participant is paired with 2 tutors for the semester; tutors choose activities which support a range of individualized literacy goals. I am extremely impressed with the commitment from these tutors and the interest they have in the program. As the coordinator, I communicate with the participants, recruit the tutors, schedule with the facility, conduct a tutor orientation each semester, oversee materials and activities, and provide support during sessions as needed. I also spend time learning about each participant’s interests and goals and communicate those to the assigned tutors. 

 The Redbird Readers program provides participants a variety of opportunities to maintain and increase literacy skills. Each participant spends time deciding what he/she wants to learn about, and what goals he/she might have for the semester. Many participants want to focus on technology use, and other participants have chosen areas of interest for further study. The tutors’ support have focused on various activities such as:  learning to use Facebook, creating a Pinterest site, researching historical time periods, learning about different cultures or vacation spots, and reading about current events. In addition, most of the participants have expanded their skills and opportunities for writing. For example, participants submitted stories for the National Down Syndrome Society My Great Story Campaign (, and some participants have written articles for newsletters or other venues.  Finally, some participants have completed service projects with their tutors, and others have provided presentations to groups or other advocacy opportunities. 

Our program also includes some group fun as we usually have an end-of-the semester celebration and occasional other social events such as dinners and participating in the annual Buddy Walk.  The participants love to be a part of the ISU community, and the tutors often say in addition to learning a great deal from the participants, it is the most enjoyable evening of their week!  I couldn’t agree more!

For more information, or to register for the 2017-2018 Redbird Readers session contact:

Kelly Appel