Every day, thousands of volunteers from the Reading Partners program head into under-resourced schools to work with students who have fallen behind grade level in reading.
These volunteer reading partners do more than simply read to the kids. Following a highly structured, easy-to-follow, research-validated curriculum and committing to a minimum of an hour a week, they are making a measurable impact in raising reading achievement.
Reading Partners volunteers range from high school students to two-time cancer survivors like Vivian Freeman-Young in Charleston, SC to Colorado’s Deric Pinales, an Iraqi war veteran to Sacramento’s Christopher Hall, who saw his student, Jontasia metamorphosize into a reader when he brought caterpillars to their sessions.
Reading Partners is a national nonprofit that engages community volunteers working with AmeriCorps members to raise the literacy skills of elementary school students who are at six months or more behind grade level in reading.
Required only to be at least 14 years old, Reading Partners’ volunteers need no prior training in literacy instruction.
“There are more than 18 million Americans who volunteer in schools each year,” notes Reading Partners CEO Michael Lombardo. “Given the right tools, structure, and support, these volunteers have amazing potential to make a real impact on the nearly 9 million kids who cannot read at grade level.”
Reading Partners operates in under-resourced elementary schools, placing a full-time staff member on site, typically an AmeriCorps member, to coach and train up to 100 community volunteers.
Volunteers commit an hour a week of their time to deliver a highly structured, modular curriculum in twice-weekly, 45-minute sessions.
The national nonprofit organization currently engages 15,000 AmeriCorps members and volunteers to work with 8,500 students in 160 schools in 12 metropolitan US cities.
Photo / Video courtesy: Reading Partners