IHOP is serving more than breakfast

Last spring, the IHOP restaurant on East Jefferson in Detroit asked Communities in Schools to help them set up a reading program for children.

Known throughout the community as CIS, this organization facilitates and coordinates the availability of health and human services, volunteers, and other youth development activities in schools. Its goal is to support the education of young people by bringing private, nonprofit and public agencies into schools.

The restaurant general manager, Yvonne Fisher, who has a son with a reading disability, proposed the concept. She wanted to help children learn to read. "IHOP is not big on dinners and the space is available," she said.

CIS was happy to help out. Students in Kindergarten through 8th grade from all over Detroit were invited to the IHOP for Books program every Monday from 4-5:30 p.m. Following the reading program, IHOP serves dinner. And parents are able to partake in separate parenting sessions.

On any given Monday, 30-60 students are present at IHOP for Books. The students are seated based on their grades and they read together. The goal is for students to read one book a week.

High school students, City Year volunteers and adults serve as tutors and assist with reading lessons. CIS tries to keep a minimum of four students per tutor.

Jones, Berry, Bellevue, Edison, Davison, Chrysler and University Public are among the many schools currently participating in IHOP for Books.

For more information on Communities in Schools activities, contact Pandora Brown at (313) 571-3400.