Sherry Comerchero is a recently retired Haverhill Public Schools Speech-Language Pathologist. Through her work in the school system and as a long time community volunteer, she became aware of the need for young readers to work one-on-one with trained literacy volunteers. In August of 2002, Sherry formed the Merrimack Valley Jewish Coalition for Literacy to address the literacy needs of young children. Since its establishment, the Coalition has seen rapid growth in the number of literacy volunteers helping students, the number of public and private schools involved in the Coalition and the number of students receiving literacy help in the communities of Andover, Lawrence and Haverhill Massachusetts. Approximately 100 students meet weekly during the school year with their assigned literacy tutors to address specific needs in reading and writing.
Sherry has recruited and provided training for new and returning volunteers, enlisting school reading specialists to help literacy volunteers become more effective in their efforts. Their annual training program includes a host of workshops such as: “Starting Off Right with Phonemic Awareness,” “Using Poetry to Develop Literacy Skills,” “Use of Readers Theater to Promote Fluency,” “Decoding and Comprehension Strategies Using Prompts,” “Promoting Fluent Reading” and “Using Lively Letters to Support Struggling Young Readers.”