Giving Compass’ Take:
• According to a five-year study, volunteer reading tutors that are helping low-income students with reading comprehension have seen a positive impact on reading scores.
• How can the program expand by offering more than just reading tutoring for students that need help in other areas?
• Read about the various ways you can volunteer based on your interests.
A program that trains community volunteers to provide additional one-on-one literacy support in the early grades is having a positive impact on reading achievement in schools serving low-income students, according to a new five-year study.
Conducted by researchers with Denver-based Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, the evaluation of Reading Partners shows that the almost 700 students who received the twice-weekly, 45-minute tutoring sessions moved from the 15th to the 21st percentile and had significantly higher spring reading scores than the sample of about 850 similar students who did not participate.
The tutoring sessions — which are held during the regular school day — also had an even stronger impact among English language learners (ELL). In fact, ELLs who participated in the program scored higher in the spring than non-ELLs who did not participate.
The researchers also wanted to examine the effects of the program for students who participated for multiple years, but the sample size was too small. Still, they found a small positive effect on students’ achievement for each additional tutoring session.
Founded in 1999 in Menlo Park, California, the program has since spread to 14 regions in 10 states and the District of Columbia, and it is expected to serve more than 11,000 students this school year. About 14,000 volunteers are expected to participate.
Volunteers receive about an hour and a half of training and are given a scripted curriculum to use that involves reading to the child, asking questions to check comprehension, highlighting key vocabulary words, and then listening to the child read.
The researchers, in fact, recommended that the strong design of the curriculum might also translate well to a summer program.
Read the full article about volunteer reading tutors by Linda Jacobson at Education Dive
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