In 1996, the MU Career Center took advantage of federal Work Study funds released to support the America Reads initiative, and developed A Way With Words. The goal was to develop a tutoring program that would not only serve the Columbia community, but would at the same time offer an opportunity for career exploration for undergraduate and graduate students.

In 2002, additional Work Study funds made it possible to begin the A Way With Numbers program, similar to A Way With Words but with a focus on math instead of reading.

In 2015, A Way With Words & Numbers piloted a new research-based reading intervention developed by the Minnesota Center for Reading Research called Path to Reading Excellence in School Sites (PRESS). The program targets students in grades K-3 who lack sufficient reading ability. Research suggests that children who cannot read at their appropriate grade level upon completing third grade are prone to a number of set-backs, as this is the time when children begin reading to learn instead of learning to read. Through targeted interventions we have seen significant growth in PRESS students’ reading abilities. In 2019, A Way With Words & Numbers implemented PRESS in 13 elementary schools that we serve as well as 1 community site.

Goals of the A Way With Words and A Way With Numbers Programs

  • To help children in the Columbia area to improve their reading and math skills.
  • To provide an avenue for college students to become involved in service and to engage in career exploration.
  • To make this a positive experience for everyone involved!