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Reading Partners

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult & Child Matching Programs, Children & Youth, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: We envision a future in which all children in this nation have the reading skills they need to reach their full potential. Reading Partners is committed to helping children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results.

Results: Reading Partners is focused on data and results. We are dedicated to ensuring that every investment made in the success of our students leads to a measurable increase in reading skills. During the 2015-16 school year: • 77% of students accelerated their progress in reading. • 97% of teachers report Reading Partners is valuable to their school. • 96% of volunteers are satisfied with their experience. • 86% of principals noted school-wide progress in reading.

Target demographics: students who are reading six months to two-and-a-half years below grade level

Geographic areas served: low-income schools across the country

Programs: We recruit and train community volunteers to work one-on-one with students by following a structured, research-based curriculum.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Gale3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the past two years, I have been a volunteer reading tutor for Reading Partners. It's been a very rewarding experience. The Reading Partners curriculum is thoughtful, easy to follow, and effective. With modest training, I have been able to implement the curriculum and see the reading progress of my students. I also appreciate the support of the Reading Partners site coordinator at the school where I volunteer. She is encouraging, knowledgeable, and seemed to know all the children.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am grateful to have been a volunteer tutor and a site coordinator for the past 2 years. What I love about Reading Partners is that they are dedicated to creating lifelong readers. With their high quality program and easy to follow curriculum it has been proven that it works.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Very excited to start volunteering for Reading Partners. Reading Partners works to raise the literacy rates of children within our communities. I cant think of a better way to give back than to ensure that our future generations have the necessary skills and confidence to better their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While I have only been tutoring a short while, I already look forward to my tutoring session every week. My student is so excited to learn and she shows me every week that she wants to succeed. I'm thrilled to see that with each session she is building confidence. It's hard to imagine what my student would do without Reading Partners.

I HIGHLY recommend this program as a volunteer opportunity. I was nervous to start at first but could not be happier now that I am a reading partner.

The program is made all the better by it's evidence based curriculum and close monitoring of students' progress. Reading Partners truly works!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Reading Partners is an amazing program that targets the critical stage in reading between K-3rd grade where once you fall behind it becomes extremely hard to succeed in future grades, in high school and further in life. The tutors are a joy to watch, working one-on-one with students teaching them the joy of reading and exciting the students to no end. What a joy to watch children find happiness in learning.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tutoring with Reading Partners has shown me that I can make a difference is as little as an hour each week. As a tutor, I get the opportunity be a role model for my student, and I love seeing her smile every day when I show up at her classroom for our session. It feels so great to be able to help her understand what we're reading each day, and watch her begin to figure out problems on her own. She also gets so excited when she gets to take a book home each week, which is a really special experience.

I chose to do my AmeriCorps year of service with Reading Partners because I wanted to truly make a difference for struggling students. I think literacy is such an important part of a student's educational experience, and opens doors for them in other subjects in school. Reading Partners gives students a chance to accelerate their learning, and I'm grateful to be a part of that process!

Cielo C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a tutor for the past year, and it's the best part of my week. It's really easy to get started. The are all laid out for you, which is great and helpful since I don't have a background in teaching. I can see my student improve with each lesson. It's a fantastic program!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a tutor at Reading Partners for about a year now and I absolutely love it! The greatest thing about Reading Partners is that their content material is so specific and easy for the tutor to follow. While tutoring, I truly feel that the student I tutor is understanding what I teach them because of this specific content material. I tutor for Reading Partners in Washington, DC and even tutoring one student for three months I saw a major difference in his reading level, he brought his reading level up one grade level. Reading Partners is helping make a difference in low-income communities to students who need the help and who through Reading Partners get that help.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a tutor for Reading Partners it's awesome to be able to see the impact they make first hand. One on one tutoring is essential when kids are trying gain reading skills to keep up with their grade level. Reading Partners' volunteer program is incredibly organized and efficient.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To see marked improvements in a child's confidence and attitude towards learning is invaluable. Reading Partners is life changing for students and tutors alike.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reading Partners has definitely changed my life! I see myself as an agent for change as well as working in the public sector forever. I have seen my student transform from a timid individual to an optimistic and confident student. At first, my student struggled to read basic words and as a result, spoke as little as he could. However, in just a few weeks, we were able to bond over things we had in common. He warmed up to me as soon as he saw that I wasn't necessarily playing a teacher role, but was an adult ally determined to make us succeed. I say us because I learned from him as much as he learned from me. Additionally, I really like how Reading Partners trains and recruits community volunteers (of all ages and stages) on the easy-to-follow Reading Partners curriculum. I really could not have done it without the support of the other volunteers and my site coordinator always willing to help!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been very impressed with this organization. The quality of the staff I've met is great and the training they offer is very helpful. The curriculum is well put together and they make it easy for people who want to volunteer, but have busy schedules. Your time commitment can be as little as 45 minutes a week, but you feel like you are actually making a difference in a child's life. I am able to do this before I go to work in the mornings. I have done a lot of volunteering and worked in the schools for years, and I like what I see here. My volunteering is in Redwood City.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Reading Partners seems to be one of the better run Americorps program because there are adequate checks and balances built into the system, solid administrative structure, decent training, reasonable hours, and accountability maybe not just on paper. The idea of enhancing reading opportunities in urban areas seems nice. The curricula is well-designed, but there should be more flexibility with regard to implementation. RP's hiring practices seems to favor upper middle income white (and male) students. There are few minorities hired to work for Reading Partners, and this also was reflected at the charter school setting I volunteered at this year.

As to why the numbers of charter schools are skyrocketing , rife unemployment, and growing gaps between rich and poor at a time when multinational financiers are reaping record profits with the need for tax write-offs via charities...sadly or ironically, it actually justifies Reading Partners in order to alleviate the burdens of over-sized classrooms or the newbie mostly young white teachers hired via Teach for America or other skeletal recruitment programs. So, for instance, at the most recent charter school I volunteered at, over 80% of their staff were under thirty and inexperienced, and yes, age and race discrimination seemed pretty obvious, they being all mostly white and under thirty. It makes you feel that they cannot consider someone as old and overqualified as me to work there, such a crying shame, so it seems there is a lot of initial built-in rigidity with regard to hiring practices.

If you are an experienced older worker, you may not enjoy being a cog in the wheel for a younger person who strikes you as sort of a blockhead typecast wannabee unconscious authoritarian, but then again, there is some enjoyment in watching the students enjoy reading on their own. Keep repeating that last phrase like a mantra to yourself, especially if you are in the education field and underemployed. (Incidentally or not, it was a 100% black student body for vanilla chocolate creme cookie snapshot of the staff/student/auxiliary ratios).

Regarding employment, RP uses Job Score, a cheesy virtual placement firm, to help sort through the masses of applications. Again, it seems mostly about age, race, connections, and check-off criteria, how that computerized routine works. Don't count on being hired to work for them, and if you are selected, well great, welcome to the Elect.

Lois B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I tutor once a week in an Oakland, CA public school and find that the curriculum is easy to work with. The staff are very friendly and helpful. It's wonderful to see my student making progress and really improving her reading skills. I love what Reading Partners is doing to help the various struggling readers around the country.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I retired from full time teaching and wanted to stay involved in education. Reading partners gives me that opportunity. I am able to use my expertise and knowledge to help students I work with. I have seen students grow and teachers are appreciative of the extra help that is given.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reading Partners has a great model for partnering with schools and engaging significant numbers of volunteers in improving kids' reading skills. The curriculum takes tutors and students step-by-step through learning to read and improving their comprehension, based on staff assessment of the student's current reading skills. As I am not a teacher by training, I have really appreciated the curriculum and the support the staff provide. Volunteers work one-on-one with the same student each week during the school year, and I am grateful to have come to know some of these students.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Reading Partners for about 6 months. I absolutely adore this program. Not only is it a great resource for kids who are falling behind, it's also an awesome volunteer opportunity for adults who are VERY busy. I'm an entrepreneur, and although my work schedule is flexible, I still don't have a lot of hours per week to devote to volunteer work. My weekly commitment to Reading Partners is exactly TWO hours, including the drive! And for that small amount of time, I'm making a HUGE difference in the life of a child.



When I first joined Reading Partners, I expected to find students who were resistant to learning and annoyed by having to participate in the program. Never in a million years did I think I would see kids excitedly running to join us, eager to give up their recess and time with friends to have the one-on-one attention of a tutor. It's an amazing program, and I highly recommend it.

mscale

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been volunteering with Reading Partners at an elementary school in Mountain View for the past three years. It matches adult volunteer tutors with children who are about a grade behind in their reading skills. Most of the children served are English language learners. It has a well thought through curriculum, combining books and worksheets, with a lot of supporting material in the reading center so tutors can mix things up, using games, flash cards, books, white boards for writing, and so on. Younger children are typically worked on a basic reading course, from alphabet to phonics, while the younger children are working on comprehension. The program does not believe that being able simply to read the words is enough. Children learn to retell stories, identify characters/settings, pick out story morals and so on. One weakness is that the center directors typically change every year because they are drawn from Americorps. That said, the center directors seem to get good support from the organization and are very helpful in suggesting new approaches with the kids.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with Reading Partners for a full year. I have found them to be extremely dedicated people. They have good resources and very good people.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reading Partners provides a very thorough training for those that believe reading is a must to a successful life. I firmly believe that this organization will reach many children that would otherwise be left far behind. With the school funding not being able to provide anything extra, this program gives schools anotoher option to service their students. Everyone at Reading Partners has been positive and definitely have a passion for this very important need. I have had a wonderful experience so far with this organization.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a tutor at Reading Partners for 3 years and have had nothing but great experiences. The program is well organized and has a curriculum that makes me feel like I'm making a difference each time I tutor. Space in the program is limited so kids who participate are there because they really want to learn. And the staff is organized and helpful. I highly recommend this program.