Through the Team Read™ program, trained community volunteers are partnered with students who need help developing their literacy skills.
These coaches provide one-on-one mentoring twice a week during the school day. With the help of Team Read tutors, many students make great strides to catch up to the rest of their class before the end of the school year.
Team Read is currently offered in select elementary schools in the Kennewick School District.
Our Team Read Line-Up
Since 2000, our on-site coordinators have helped organize hundreds of tutors to improve students' reading skills.
Pat Reil (Eastgate coordinator), Patty Jones (Hawthorne coordinator), Debbi Zunker (Cascade coordinator), Laura Zettlemoyer (Southgate coordinator), Julie Sena (Vista coordinator), Alicia Briones (Program Director) and Dori Schmelzer (Edison coordinator)
Team Read Program Director
A Tri-Cities native, Alicia Briones has extensive volunteer experience, both as a volunteer and managing volunteers. Team Read Program Director since July 2015, Alicia is passionate about reading, education and nonprofit work.
Alicia received her Bachelor degree in Law, Societies and Justice from University of Washington and her Masters in Criminal Justice from Seattle University. Prior to moving back to the Tri-Cities, she worked for five years at the ACLU of Washington.
Alicia's favorite book
My favorite children’s book is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The illustrations are amazing. Also, as a kid in a scary world, scary stories tell us about the scary things but often they also tell us how to defeat them. I thought the stories were empowering; lessons on how to either avoid or defeat the things I was afraid of as a child.
Laura grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has lived all throughout the United States during her adult life. She has been in the Tri-Cities for three years. Laura was an elementary school teacher, and then stayed home raising her two children, who are now 11 and 13. She loves that she is able to work with children through Team Read! Watching a child learn to love reading brings her much joy!
Laura was an on-site coordinator at Edison Elementary school, then a volunteer tutor, before coming back to be an on-site coordinator at Southgate Elementary. She looks forward to building relationships with a new group of students!
Laura's favorite book
Her favorite children’s book (which she finds really hard to choose!) is Owen, by Kevin Henkes. She loves all of his work, but loves the character of Owen. Each child has fears that they need to learn to work through, and this book is a perfect example of this!
Pat Reil’s Team Read experience began as a volunteer tutor at Hawthorne. Now in in her 5th year as a site coordinator. Pat loves working with young students who often struggle to read. She loves seeing their eyes light up as they finally succeed. One of Pat’s favorite Team Read moments took place in 2016 when one of her first grade students said, "I am learning!" He was so excited and he has really "upped" his game since! During the summer months, Pat enjoys gardening and playing with her grandchildren.
Pat's favorite book
My favorite children's book changes frequently, but I love the Henry and Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant. They move at a perfect pace and reflect the simple joys and fears of childhood. My favorite adult book is The Book Thief.
While completing her bachelor’s degree, Patty Jones’s granddaughter was learning to read. Patty decided to complete her research paper on pre-literacy skills and as a result, became acquainted with Team Read. After tutoring her first student, Patty was hooked! Patty has been a part of Team Read since 2005 and she loves it! In her spare time Patty gardens, makes soap, kayaks and swing dances with her hubby. Patty and her husband have 4 children and 12 grandchildren. Spending time and reading with her grandchildren is one of Patty’s greatest joys.
Patty's favorite book
One of my favorite children’s books is When Mom Turned Into a Monster, by Joanna Harrison.
Born and raised in Kennewick, Debbi Zunker enjoyed 4-H and Girl Scouts in her youth. She loved reading any book that had a horse in it and spent most of her free time riding. After high school, Debbi married a cowboy and became a 4-H horse and swine leader and a Cub Scout leader.
Prior to becoming a site coordinator since 2014, Debbi tutored with Team Read at Eastgate. Debbi loves her job because children are so fun and funny! They don't judge, aren't prejudiced, snotty or conceited. They love the time you give to them and don't care if your shoes are ugly. Debbi loves their eagerness to learn! Debbi also enjoys working with the great people of The Children's Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia and especially all her lovely friends in Team Read.
Debbi's favorite book
I like the sweet Mercer Meyer books and the muy loco Skippy John Jones books.
Sunset View Coordinator
I started as an engineering student. Study was interrupted when we moved to Washington DC area. I worked for a surveyor as a cartographer. From there we moved to Las Vegas NV. I worked for the Assessor’s office Clark County Nevada as a cartographer, but this time with computers. I took many evening classes in computers.
In 2002, I got a Weimaraner (a very high energy breed) from Mile High Weimaraner Rescue. Once he settled down enough (after 4 years), I had him tested as a Therapy Dog. In Las Vegas, he visited Child Protective Services. This was a secure facility where children where taken for their own protection. He also visited St. Rose Hospital Chemotherapy Clinic and their Radiation Clinic. We moved to Richland in 2006 and I took him to Chaplaincy, Kadlec Hospital and West Richland library where children would read to him. Sam died in 2013 and left a void in my life.
That is when I started the Team Read program. I volunteered until a coordinator position opened at Sunset View Elementary. I love working with children. When I see them in the halls, they either wave to me or come and give me a hug. I think what we do gives them confidence to do more.
Judy's favorite book
One book in particular is my favorite, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss. I love all his books but I remember my mother-in-law made green eggs and ham for our son when he was one year old. He wouldn't eat it!! They've also bought chickens that laid ‘green eggs’. As my children grew to adults, it is the one book that my daughter saved. It is also is one of the books I gave my granddaughter.
A native of Colorado, Julie Sena moved to Richland in 2009. Julie started as a tutor for Team Read for one year, then took a position as coordinator beginning at Edison before moving to her current position at Vista Elementary.
In Julie’s spare time she enjoys traveling the Northwest, hiking, reading, and working on her miniature dollhouse. Most of all, Julie enjoys taking trips back to Colorado to see her three kids.
Julie's favorite book
My favorite book I read as a child, as well as two of my children, was “My Side of the Mountain”. I loved being able to share a story with my kids that I had read myself as a young child. They enjoyed it as much as I did!
Born and raised in the Tri-Cities, Dori Schmelzer has a background in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She joined us in 2016 as the site coordinator for Team Read at Edison Elementary. Dori is extremely passionate about education and working with children. In her spare time she enjoys her family and her two darling children.
My favorite childrens' book is "The Poky Little Puppy". I have very fond memories of my mom and aunt reading this to me as a young child. This book was also given to my children as a gift from my aunt that has since passed away. A truly great book about independence and noticing the seemingly little things in life.
Dori's favorite book
I have very fond memories of my Mom and aunt reading this to me as a young child. This book was also given to my children as a gift from my aunt that has since passed away. A truly great book about independence and noticing the seemingly little things in life.