Imagination, creativity, critical thinking, knowledge – these are all things gained from reading. Unfortunately, many kids are not able to reap these benefits because their literacy skills are at a level far below their grade level and, as a result, reading becomes challenging and uninspiring. To top it off, once children fall behind in reading, the school system is not set up in a way that allows them to catch up.
Being an avid reader since childhood I was looking to volunteer at a reading program when I came across a social media post about the Reading Partners organization. I have volunteered with the program for 4 years now and I see tangible proof that my time makes a difference; that this program improves reading levels for many children.
Reading Partners helps students in kindergarten through 4th grade develop critical literacy skills through one-on-one tutoring led by trained volunteers. Students who are believed to be below grade-level literacy benchmarks are referred by their teachers to participate in the program. Volunteer tutors follow a research-based curriculum and work with students one-on-one, once or twice a week, for forty-five minutes. Students are assessed throughout the program to monitor progress and so adjustments can be made if necessary.
Never having worked with children before the thought of “teaching” children seemed a bit daunting, however, a unique aspect of Reading Partners is the Site Coordinator that is present in every tutoring session. They are an incredible resource and will aid you with whatever help or direction you need.
In the 2021 – 2022 school year Reading Partners was able to serve 551 students, but unfortunately, 250+ students were referred to Reading Partners but couldn’t be enrolled in the program because there were not enough tutors to work with them. Next school year, Reading Partners has a plan to serve more than 600 students, but we need your help! Please consider donating your time to this extremely valuable and enriching program. Personally, I feel I’ve learned and gained more than the students in the program.