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-Intervention Specialist and former Project MORE Coordinator-

Brenda Thierry Testimonial


“Project MORE is a perfect program for the 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee.”
Elementary Principal
A 5th grade teacher told the Project MORE Coordinator that she wanted to mentor her 2nd grade son at home using the Project MORE materials. The teacher said that the Project MORE program had every component that her reading endorsement class said was important for teaching reading. Union County
“Thank you for providing evidence to support the true meaning of ALL Means All”, State Support Team Regional Consultant
North Union Elementary had our 3rd Annual Project MORE Open House last evening with over 100 in attendance. The word of this wonderful program is spreading fast and parents are eager for information. I think it is also valuable for parents to talk to our mentors and find out just how much they care and how invested they are in their child’s success. We presently have 94 students enrolled in Project MORE. We are also starting with the home based program (parents mentor their own children) with 1st and 2nd grade parents. We have another exciting year to see our children benefit from mentoring through Project MORE!

Sandy Ridge, Project MORE Coordinator, North Union Local

Project MORE was the only intervention detailed in Superintendent of Public Instruction for Ohio, Dr. Richard Ross’s, “Educational Connection” Newsletter, on 4/8/13: …Project MORE is a volunteer mentoring program that specializes in helping students with disabilities learn to read. This program uses community resources to offer low-cost help for schools and districts. For more information on Project MORE, visit their website at:”
Project MORE Conference 2013 was a huge success! Approximately 220 conference participants enjoyed numerous breakout sessions, general sessions and great conversation. Thank you to all who contributed to another successful conference!

Comments include: “I love the positive atmosphere. This conference is always so inspiring!” “This has been such a great learning experience! Thank you for presenting such valuable information.” “It was wonderful hearing success stories from all over the state. I got some great information to help make Project MORE even MORE successful at our school next year.”
“Project MORE is Ohio specific, founded and tested in Ohio, empirically supported with Ohio’s children, serves children in rural, suburban, and urban Ohio, and now serves a total of 300+ schools in Ohio.”
— Dr. Rich Wilson, Independent Evaluator, BGSU/Center for Evaluation Services 11/1/12
“Welcome back to another great year. First I want to congratulate you on your part in Worthington’s earning an ‘A’ in Value-Added for our Students with Disabilities. After going over your data from the Fall, it is clear that Project MORE really does the job in getting significant growth in reading.

As we begin this year’s journey we also want to make sure we keep the 3rd Grade Guarantee in mind and prioritize those students who are most at-risk of being retained. Remember, the 3GG does not blankly exempt students who are on an IEP for reading from the consequences of retention. Since we know this is one intervention that works lets do what we can to be sure all of our students with mild reading disabilities get this extra and powerful scoop.” Director of Academic Achievement, Worthington

“Project MORE is an outstanding way to involve families and the community in making success happen for students”. Principal, Eastern Ohio
“If there ever was a program or initiative to support ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, Project MORE is the poster child”. Principal, Eastern Ohio
“At a mentor appreciation luncheon with our Board of Education, a mentor said ~ I only hope they let me come back next year.” Project MORE Coordinator, Central Ohio
“The reading gains and motivation of the students to read is unbelievable in just a short period of time!” Project MORE Coordinator/Intervention Specialist, Southern Ohio (less than 2 months of mentoring)
“Project MORE provides practical data that can be applied to monitor student gains.” School Counselor, Southern Ohio
“I can see the difference in my students in the classroom. More fluent, more confident readers.” Teacher, Eastern Ohio (after 2 months of mentoring)
Project MORE has been an amazing resource for struggling readers. I have seen the program in several districts and have been impressed with the results every time.” Principal, Eastern Ohio
“A Win/Win/Win venture between the school, the community, and most of all the kids” Principal,Stark County
“Chloe completed her graph today in Project MORE. She wanted to know what I would do
with it since it was full. I told her I would save it in her file and let her start a new one.
She said that she dreamed about it on Tuesday night, and she dreamed that I took her picture
with it! So, of course, I took it!” Project MORE Coordinator, Southern Ohio
“The students graphing their own growth has made such a difference in motivation of middle school students!” Intervention Specialist
“Project MORE is the piece to the puzzle needed to help close the achievement gap for all students by utilizing the support of the members in the community,” Principal, Northeast Ohio
“Project MORE is the best school-wide Tier II intervention I’ve ever seen.” Dr. Rich Wilson, former Co-Director, BGSU/Center for Evaluation Services
“I cried the first time I saw the mentors working with my students. The mentors wanted to get to know my students and were interested in what they had to say.” Intervention Specialist, Eastern Ohio
“I am seeing gains with both the mentors and the mentees. It’s a good way to involve our students with typicals.” ~ students with developmental disabilities go to the local Catholic High School for mentoring. Intervention Specialist, DD Program
“Please know I am so honored and grateful to be a Project MORE coordinator. It is an amazing intervention program that has helped so many children become successful readers. I feel so blessed to be involved in such a wonderful program.”Project MORE Coordinator, Central Ohio
“I wanted to let you know that our mentors are awesome!! They have gone above and beyond and even planned a fun day lesson all by themselves with the kids right before Christmas. The high school students got together ( without us knowing) and got their students’ gifts, played games, read Christmas books, and made snacks to share. We also have a card in which one mentor wrote a wonderful letter to her student about how she is working hard and making improvements. I LOVE the program. Thank you so much!!!! Project MORE Coordinator/Intervention Specialist, Northwest Ohio
“I know that I’ve said this before, but it is such a pleasure to be a part of Project MORE in our school and in our state. I love being able to reach so many needy students. It’s a blessing to serve with such wonderful mentors.” Project MORE Coordinator, Southern Ohio
“My best success is story is that a 4th grade teacher came to me and asked me if she could have one of her reg ed students in the program because she had heard about how well it has been going.
I did not have a mentor for the student, but offered to train her mom to do it at home. She and her mom were in that afternoon and she has been working at home every night since Thanksgiving including weekends and breaks, and has moved from a level M to a level O in less than 2 months!
I always give her the option to leave her binder and to take a break, and she always responds “I want to take it home, my mom and I love this program!” Jonathan Alder Local School
“We had a student enter our district/school this fall. He was at a DRA Level 4 and began Project MORE on 9/13/12. The Project MORE mentor (one person) works with him 4 days per week. Today it was noted at the IAT meeting on 11/13, exactly two months after he started Project MORE, that he passed DRA Level 14 at the Independent Level. In other words, he made 1/2 year of growth in 2 months! His mother is so pleased because ‘No one ever helped him like this before'” Worthington School
“The improvement from the cold read to the warm read is a powerful motivator for students. They can’t wait to practice and improve even more.” Title I Teacher/Tipp City
“This mentor called to ask a question about the cold, warm, hot reads and after clearing things up, I mentioned how thankful that I am for her to be mentoring (she’s a single mom, works full time- we talked on her lunch break as she’s working all weekend- and is still mentoring 3 kids). She then said that the reason she’s volunteering is because Project MORE changed her son’s school year and his life (her son was in the program last year, but isn’t this year because he met benchmark) and she wants to give back. She said that he now loves to read and his nose is always in a book. The only problem is that he was sad he couldn’t be in Project MORE anymore. She told him that he could be a mentor when he’s older and now he’s excited to mentor as an older student.

I just love how holistic this program is- very cool! Thanks for supporting this program as it truly makes a difference!” Project MORE Coordinator, Worthington City Schools

Devon, 8th grade mentor at Eagle Academy, asked “Why doesn’t every school in Ohio do Project MORE? It’s such a great program!” Devon wrote the following words of encouragement for his mentee: “Reading is an important skill because it is what controls all aspects of life. If you cannot read, how do you expect to get a job? You have to read the newspaper and read online articles. You have to know how to read and write to make a resume. You should always remember that they will not teach you anything in school that you won’t use later on in life. Always remember that!” Devon mentors every day at Eagle.
“I’m very excited to start this program! I can’t wait to look back a couple of years from now and see how far the program has come in our school!” Title Teacher, Stark County

“Thank you Project MORE! As teachers we should be creating opportunities that invite and inspire learning. This program does just that.” Title I Reading Specialist, Mentor, OH
“This is our reading program. Students with severe disabilities and behaviors often get overlooked due to their nature. This program works their brains, helping their behaviors. I also know that EVERYONE CAN LEARN. This program is wonderful.” Intervention Specialist for students with moderate to intensive disabilities

“My biggest success is with one student who had Aspergers. He began Project MORE at a D reading level and by the end of the year was reading at an N ~which was on grade level for him. He went from being a kid who hated to read, to now being a student whom I have to tell to put his book away and go to recess. ” Project MORE Coordinator/Northwestern Ohio
There really is no program that works as well…. It just takes commitment! Veteran Project MORE Coordinator/Worthington
“Project MORE has made a difference in our school’s AYP, Value Added and school report card as well as community relations.” Principal/Southwest Licking
“I have seen great success with this project. My students like the instant gratification.” Intervention Specialist,/Southeastern Ohio
“Have only been using Project MORE for 3 weeks and can already see improvement in one students’ fluency and most importantly his confidence in his ability to read.” ED Teacher,/Southeastern Ohio
“I received a thank you note from a student that shows little emotion, thanking me for helping her be a better reader” PM Coordinator/Southeastern Ohio
One of our boys walked away from his tutor beaming with confidence. He said, “I’m a king at reading!” Coordinator/Southwestern Ohio
One of our 4 graders has had difficulty with both academics and with behavior since he came last year. However, with the mentoring program, he has grown in his reading, wants to read, and is almost passing science, social studies, and math. He’s not up to grade level yet, but he wants to a part of the school world now and his attitude is such that he wants to be in school and is working well with the adults in his school world. His mentors who started with him last January all requested to still be his mentor this last fall. Success can be measured by more than scores. Worthington City Project MORE Coordinator
Presently, we are in our 4th year of Project MORE at Warsaw Elementary School. We have adult mentors and student mentors. We provide reading assistance to 6 students with IEPs and have picked up some additional at risk students in grades first and second. We asked our fifth and sixth graders to become mentors to the younger students. By using the fifth and sixth graders, we are able to give more at risk students individual reading assistance. The fifth and sixth graders look forward to their day of mentoring. The program gives the fifth and sixth graders a sense of giving back to their community and responsibility.
Many of the students have made great gains this year. One first grader started on a level C and is now reading a level I book. He enjoys every minute of working with his mentor. When he looks at us now, he has a look on his face which says, “I can be successful with reading.” To have a student transform like that is just priceless. The success stories are endless with Project MORE, but one sixth grade mentor summed it all up when she wrote this saying on her dry erase board, “Project MORE rocks my socks and flips my flops”. It’s a great program to encourage struggling readers to keep working, so they can be successful at reading, too. Project MORE Coordinator/Warsaw Elementary

We have seen many successes throughout our ten years of mentoring at our school. Some successes are very small steps; some are giant leaps in a short amount of time. Some successes involve mentors who feel more needed and valuable. One senior citizen mentor has told me that coming to mentor is the reason she gets up in the morning. Some teen-age mentors have gone on to become teachers. One high school senior won a scholarship contest when she wrote about her experiences of being a Project MORE mentor. We are beginning to see mentors join our program that had once been Project MORE students and want to now give back to the program. One student recently has shown great growth through the Project MORE program although it took a few years. Darren joined our program as a first grader. He often cried and was so unsure of himself, but really enjoyed working with a mentor. His first grade teacher just was not sure if he was ready for second grade and also wanted him tested for a possible learning disability. He did not qualify for special education services and his grandmother, who was raising him, did not want him retained. In second grade, Darren began to grow more as a reader. He became very attached to his mentors and began to show more confidence. In the fall of third grade, Darren took the Ohio Achievement Reading test. His score was only a 368, which was at a limited level. He continued to come daily to HOSTS and worked hard on his reading with his mentors. His spring score on the reading achievement test was a 413! He was so proud of himself. When I saw him in the summer, he just beamed when he told me that he had passed the test. I let his mentors also know about his success and they were also very excited for him. This September, Darren became our student of the month for the fourth grade. He is considered one of the top students in a fourth grade class size of 210. Darren has told me that he wants to become a mentor for us as soon as he is old enough. This student is just one example of how mentoring has helped him succeed. Project MORE programs work for all students to give them daily and long-term positive results. It also gives our mentors a chance to impact children’s lives in positive ways and to know that they are a valuable influence on those students. Project MORE Coordinator/Allen County
A mother came to talk to me at the beginning of the year, the mother asked if her son would be in Project MORE again this year. She said she wanted her son’s life to be better than hers has been and knows reading and school success will take him far. She knew her son had been in Project MORE for the two previous school years and he was making great gains…even passed the OAT on the first try in third grade! However, she also knew that he had gained confidence, appreciated the mentoring relationships he had gained and they both saw improvements in his reading. She did not want these things taken away from her child. She complimented the mentors, the program and all of our hard work. She was relieved to find out her son would be in Project MORE again. Her son has continued to do well this year and is a true success story of not only the students seeing the benefits, but also the parents. Project MORE Coordinator/Hancock County
Ohio School Boards Association
I heartily endorse the nomination of the volunteer program Project MORE, Mentoring in Ohio for Reading Excellence, for a 2010 Outstanding Student Program Award. Project MORE is brought to our school by the Putnam County Educational Service Center. The mission of this program is to significantly improve the reading levels of students with disabilities in Ohio and throughout the United States using 1:1 volunteer reading mentoring.
Project MORE is a scientifically based reading research volunteer reading mentoring project for students with disabilities that has demonstrated statistically significant reading results since 1999. Independent research findings consistently report students with specific learning disabilities make month for month reading level gains when they are 1:1 reading mentored four times/week for 30 minutes. Project MORE’s Scientifically Based Reading Research is published in the 12/07 issue of CEC’s Division on Developmental Disabilities “Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities” Journal.
Our data, using a universal screener and progress monitoring tool, shows dramatic gains in reading for special education students participating in this project. Our special education subgroups did not make AYP, adequate yearly progress, on our Ohio Achievement Assessments for the 2008-2009. Project MORE was implemented in this current school year in an attempt to provide our student with the best instructional services so that these students would make expected gains on their academic goals.
Project MORE involves bringing community members into our schools to serve as reading tutors/mentors for our students. We were able to expand the program to include students who were at risk but not yet identified as needing special education services. Community and parent involvement is an important and valued part of our school’s mission.
I recommend Project MORE for the Outstanding Student Program Award. The program has provided us a means to serve our students in need, improved our community and parent engagement in our school and, most importantly, has demonstrated effectiveness in improving our students’ academic levels. We serve our students better because of Project MORE. Sincerely, Valerie Robb, Principal, Graham Elementary 6/10

The most rewarding parts of this program are the excitement shown from students telling me about the book, the pride they show telling me how many stickers they earned that day, the excitement of who won the games, the happiness when the tutor gives them a good work certificate, and how happy they are to tell me they are ready for a new book. These students love to read!! Project MORE Coordinator/Putnam County has made a great impact on several of my students. In a nine week period I watched my students’ grades in Language Arts rise one to two grades. I have also observed an increase in fluency with those students. has exceded my expectations. 2nd grade teacher, Allen County School, who has several IEP kids in her inclusion classroom.
“It is one of the very best things we have ever done here, and are hopeful that we can expand the program significantly next year”. Elementary Principal/Preble County

“I have seen the best student reactions and progress through the time given to them in Project MORE than I have witnessed in 23 years of teaching young children.” Project MORE Coordinator/Scioto County
“We went from Emergency to Continuous Improvement in one year. We also made AYP this year. At spring parent conferences, some parents cry, get very emotional that their students have made so much progress that year.” Principal/Lima

I just wanted to share my good news with you. Wal-mart has given me a grant for my MORE program! It will be so helpful considering all the budget cuts I have experienced this school year. It is so good to know that a large corporation, such as Wal-mart, recognizes the importance and value of the work that we do each day in Project MORE. This is truly the most rewarding and most beneficial educational experience of my 20+ year career in teaching! I am very honored to be a part of this program. Project MORE Coordinator/Southern Ohio
A Mentor Story: Gavin, a 6th grade mentor on an IEP, asked if he could switch his mentoring time so that he would not miss Spanish class. I told him that was okay, so the next day he came down at his new time and went to get his mentee, Tyler (a first grader). He came back without him and said, “Tyler has gym class right now. I don’t think he would want to miss gym class, because I know I would not like it if I had to miss gym class. Can we just switch back to our regular time?” When I told this to Gavin’s intervention specialist, she was amazed. She said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gavin show empathy like that before! That is amazing.”
Logan, an 8th grade mentor on an IEP said: “I love doing Project MORE because I learn new words. I like folding books and I like reading new books with kids. That is why I like doing Project MORE.”
Mrs. Wooley, a staff member: “Thank you for all you do with Project MORE. Two of the students who are working as mentors are completely different this year because of the program. Their behavior is so much better now that they have something to look forward to and to feel proud of.”
A common comment from all of our middle school mentors is: “Can I do mentoring every day?”
At Eagle Academy, Project MORE is used as part of our Mentor’s alternate assessments. All of them passed this year.
What about our mentees?
50% of our mentees also have IEP’s. All of them passed their alternate assessments this year. In fact, one of our 4th graders made so much progress in reading this year that he will take the regular OAA test next year with accommodations.
“K”, another 4th grade student says: “I like reading the books and playing the games and I like my mentors. My favorite thing is the Starburst and the prizes.” “K” has also asked if he can be a mentor when he gets to 6th grade.
“C”, a parent of a 1st grader says: “I feel my son is definitely improving. He is much more confident now when he reads.”