History of Reading Rescue and the Benedict Silverman Foundation
Jayne Bentzen and Benedict Silverman
In 2012, Benedict and his wife Jayne Bentzen established the Benedict Silverman Foundation with the vision to support the expansion of Reading Rescue and continue to promote the use of research based practices for K-2 students.
Benedict Silverman was a savvy businessman, real estate investor and strategic philanthropist. In 1993 he visited his alma mater at the University of Florida to learn more about impactful work happening at the college. When Mr. Silverman was introduced to the Reading Rescue program, developed by Dr. Nora Hoover, his interest was piqued immediately. The power of one-to-one instruction and the importance of training existing school staff how to teach reading using research based methods stood out tremendously to Benedict. It was then, a beautiful partnership emerged between two impressive individuals from different worlds. They were united by a joint goal to create more opportunities for kids from all socioeconomic backgrounds to have the opportunity to become fluent and motivated readers.
Silverman began funding the program and supported the establishment the nonprofit Literacy Trust which has operated Reading Rescue since 1998. From the late 1990s until the mid 2000s, Dr. Hoover traveled the country bringing Reading Rescue to over 500 elementary schools across seven states. Through her work, thousands of students were taught to read and hundreds of school community members became skilled reading instructors. In the early 2000s, the decision was made to focus services in New York City public schools where they could centralize their efforts on the largest school district in the country. Dr. Hoover continued to oversee research and the expansion of the program until her retirement in 2018. Upon Dr. Hoover's retirement, Dr. Katie Pace Miles was selected to oversee the quality and content of Reading Rescue as the Academic Advisor. The program has served over 10,000 students in New York City in over 200 NYC DOE public schools. The foundation continues to proudly support Reading Rescue and is excited about future expansion to new sites outside of the New York City area.
Mr Silverman passed away in 2016. His vision and legacy continues to live on as the foundation, under Jayne's leadership, continues to impact thousands of lives around the world.