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February 22, 2015

Empowering Students to Believe They're Awesome

Keiara’s sessions with her tutor, Maddie, are filled with positive words of encouragement. Keiara deserves all the praise – and she’s finally figuring out why.

Keiara, a fifth grade student at Edmund A. Burns Elementary, loves playing games and reading funny books like Crazy Hair Day by Barney Saltzberg. Keiara also loves being in the fifth grade; “On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 10;” she says.

“It’s exciting to help Keiara,” says Maddie, a junior in high school. Maddie became a reading partner because she loves books, reading, and most of all, helping people.

Before entering Reading Partners, Keiara lacked confidence in her reading abilities and was reading at a level several months behind her peers. Maddie says, since they started working together, “[Keiara’s] confidence has gone up so much [and] it’s been really amazing to develop a relationship with her, because I can see the benefits it has in the reading sessions.”

Keiara acknowledges  that she has gotten better since participating in Reading Partners. “I can read very fast and they help me when I’m stuck on words,” she pauses, then continues, “I’m awesome.” As Maddie and Keiara’s session wraps up, they review four and a half pages of vocabulary words; Keiara defines every single word.

Full of enthusiasm and animated expression, Keiara explains how she enjoys spending time with her tutor Maddie, “she’s really friendly and helpful.”

Keiara’s site coordinator, Ms. Monroe, says the two “are a perfect match.”

Keiara looks forward to coming to the Burns Elementary reading center twice a week. Since her enrollment, Keiara both narrowed her achievement gap and accelerated her reading growth. Maddie’s commitment to Reading Partners continues to transform Keiara into a confident reader.

Interested in joining the movement and becoming a reading partner like Maddie? Learn more about how you can get involved at

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