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April 24, 2020

Committing to the next chapter: How students benefit from returning volunteers

This year was unlike any other. The Coronavirus outbreak caught us all off guard, upending our lives, transitioning classrooms into our homes, and making us adjust to a new reality indoors. This transition meant switching Reading Partners tutoring program to virtual resources and family engagement innovations. 

And although tutoring was cut short, the support of our volunteers remained strong. Their unparalleled dedication warmed our hearts and gave us hope amidst so much uncertainty. It’s thanks to our wonderful volunteers that we believe our communities will rally around students once again to help them make up lost ground in the next school year.

Knowing that students will need a lot of support to catch up and reach their literacy goals, we’re asking you, our tutors, to take the pledge now to renew your volunteer commitment in the fall. 

Volunteers are the heart and soul of our work, and returning tutors bring valuable expertise to our program, supporting students year-after-year. 

Returning volunteers offer countless benefits to Reading Partners students

Returning volunteers are already familiar with our program, having ample experience to deliver high-quality tutoring from day one. Their presence at the beginning of the school year not only helps ensure that more students get enrolled early on but also motivates other volunteers to follow suit. A win-win situation!

Tutor student reading

Tutors’ ongoing support helps forge strong bonds

Positive tutor-student relationships impact students’ lives beyond academic outcomes. Consistent support from the same tutors, whom students already know and trust, can spur growth in social-emotional learning (SEL). Developed SEL skills can lead to a newfound sense of confidence and deeper school engagement throughout the year, as kids start to realize they can achieve (and even surpass) their academic expectations. 

Positive tutor-student relationships also help foster a sense of belonging in students who might feel disconnected from their learning journeys. Having a mentor who shares a similar background and experiences goes a long way in helping students stay engaged. When kids connect on a deeper level with their tutors, they are more likely to relax and participate in classroom activities. 

All of the above make returning tutors amazing assets to the Reading Partners program, but their impact doesn’t end there. Since these volunteers have a lot of experience with students, they can also help site coordinators—and other tutors—overcome small hurdles, such as supporting a student who might be experiencing fatigue or difficulty focusing at the end of the day.

Their support helps create the most comfortable, inclusive, and welcoming learning environment possible, so kids can relax, focus on their development, and have fun in the process.

We don’t know when or how schools will reopen, but we know for sure that whatever challenge comes our way, the Reading Partners community will do everything possible to help our students stay on course and keep up with their learning journeys. 

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