Dear Park District Directors:

I Can Read! is the Chicago metro area's most effective and cost-effective summer and after-school reading program for elementary and middle school students. It offers parents the option of quickly and dramatically improving their children's reading skills. Here's how it works:

We would like to offer this course as a part of your existing after-school program, and we hope that it will become one of your most popular offerings, as it has in the communities where we are already established..

Dates and Times

I Can Read! sessions follow these formats:

As much as possible, we will tailor the course to coincide with the dates and times of your existing summer or after-school program.

Program Structure

We offer classes in two major curriculum streams, one for younger children in grades K-3 and one for older children in grades 3-8. All incoming children are given a placement test that helps us determine which of our classes is most suitable for them. Each class is therefore composed exclusively of children who are likely to master the materials.


The I Can Read! program uses professional teachers with significant teaching experience, and we train teachers specifically to use our curriculum. We understand that your approval of the program may be contingent upon your approval of our teachers, and we will give you a reasonable opportunity to interview any teachers that we may select as candidates. If you can recommend any teachers from your local area or school system, we would very much like to hear about them.

Class Size

We do our best to limit class size to 7 students. If there is an exceptional demand in your area, we will do our best to add classes.


We expect that our program will be both affordable to parents and profitable to your district. If you need to discuss any other aspects of finances besides those described below, please feel free to contact us.

Tuition Charged to Parents

I Can Read! is offered as a tuition-based program. In most areas we expect to charge $695 per student, which is well under $18 per hour of instruction. This rate is substantially smaller than the fees that are charged by most private tutoring services. In financially distressed areas, we will be seeking grants from both government and private sources in order to reduce the tuition, but we have no such programs in place yet. If your program is already receiving grant assistance or if you are aware of grants that are available in your area, we would be most happy to pursue those. Please notify us of any such opportunities.

Fees Paid to Your Program

Regarding our payments into your program, we would like to follow your customary schedule of fees if possible. Some programs charge a percentage of gross revenues, while others have a fixed per-student fee and yet others have a flat fee. We are open to all reasonable arrangements and will discuss your fee schedule at your convenience. As participants in your program, we would need to receive the following benefits:


Our company has a general liability insurance policy with standard limitations for this type of operation. Please contact us for specific details. If you wish, we will provide you with written proof of insurance and/or add your district as an "additional insured.".

Curriculum Content

The curriculum is the focal point of our program, and so we were very careful in choosing it. Our objective was to find a curriculum that would satisfy two important objectives:

  1. From a marketing perspective, the curriculum must appeal to the vast majority of parents who are likely to enroll their children in a reading class.

  2. From a practical perspective, the curriculum must produce substantial differences in student performance. In the long term we expect that word-of-mouth will be the most powerful promotional vehicle for the program, and we certainly won't get much if the results don't speak for themselves.

In our years of experience we have found that parents who are concerned about their children's reading instruction will expect the curriculum to contain an emphasis on phonics. We can also infer this from the preponderance of phonics-based consumer products, including toys, software, and at-home study programs. The runaway success of many of these products, some of which are not even particularly well designed, suggests that parents know what "phonics" means and that they relate it strongly to reading instruction.

This is fortunate because it coincides with our desire to produce an effective curriculum. The vast majority of comparative reading research supports the use of phonics instruction. The research also heavily supports the use of a teaching style called "direct instruction", which allows teachers to convey information more quickly and effectively than any other known method.  

Considering all this, we have chosen the SRA Reading Mastery curriculum for younger children, and its extension, SRA Corrective Reading, for older children. You can contact SRA at 800-843-8855 for more information on this program if you wish. Ask for the "Reading Mastery Program Overview Guide" for general information, and ask for the "Reading Mastery Series Guide" or the "Corrective Reading Program Overview Guide" for a more in-depth look at each curriculum. In our opinion, Reading Mastery and Corrective Reading best satisfy both of our curriculum requirements:

  1. They are phonics-based programs, and so parents' expectations of a phonics emphasis should be met. Both programs approach phonics from a very practical perspective: they contain a large amount of explicit phonics instruction, but their primary purpose is to teach reading through the implicit use of phonics.

  2. Reading Mastery has been more thoroughly researched than perhaps any other reading program. If delivered properly, its effectiveness is simply beyond question.

For more detailed information about the research supporting our curriculum, please see:


We believe that our I Can Read! program is a "no-lose" proposition. Because it deals with such an important basic skill (reading), with which most parents are heavily concerned, it could well become one of your district's most popular offerings. Our customers are quite satisfied with our service, as you can see from our many testimonials and references.

We hope you will be receptive to this relatively new concept and that it will become a favorite among the programs you are already offering. Thank you for your consideration!

David Ziffer