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January 17, 2019

Independent study indicates national nonprofit literacy program benefits kids beyond academics

For Immediate Release


Michael Todd
National Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, Reading Partners
415.225.9139  |

Julia Strasdauskas
Account Director, C+W Communications
443-299-7751  |


Study results include an emerging insight that the early literacy nonprofit helps students improve both reading and social-emotional learning skills

(Oakland, CA) January 17, 2019  —  Reading Partners is proud to share the results of a two-year study conducted across California by Child Trends, a leading national nonprofit research organization focused on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families. Most notably, the study found that students who participated in Reading Partners’ evidence-based and community fueled one-on-one tutoring program not only showed gains in their reading skills, but also made improvements in their social-emotional learning skills.

EMERGING INSIGHT: 83 percent of Reading Partners students improved their social-emotional learning skills by the end of the school year, making gains in social competence, persistence, self-control and reading engagement. Learn more.

Social-emotional development is critical for children because it helps them deepen personal skills like managing emotions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and making sound and safe decisions—skills that will benefit them throughout life.

Additional findings from the study include:

  • Reading Partners was successful in recruiting and engaging students who needed reading support. In fact, 92 percent of the students served in California during the study period were reading below their grade level at baseline. Learn more.

  • Reading Partners volunteer tutors upheld program fidelity and engaged in positive, supportive relationships with students. Eighty-seven percent of tutors had highly positive relationships with their students. Learn more.

  • Reading Partners AmeriCorps members gained essential professional skills compared to national AmeriCorps alumni and nearly nine in 10 AmeriCorps members were very satisfied with their experience. Learn more.

“A particularly promising finding from this study is that positive relationships between students and their Reading Partners tutors led to improvements in children’s social-emotional learning,” said Kelly Murphy, Deputy Program Area Director, Youth Development at Child Trends. “Social-emotional learning is important because it makes students better communicators and problem solvers, and helps them better manage their emotions—skills critical to their future academic success.”

Child Trends’ study built upon findings from Reading Partners’ two prior rigorous impact studies (MDRC and APA) by further exploring the characteristics and experiences of Reading Partners’ volunteer tutors and AmeriCorps members, as well as providing a first look at social-emotional learning outcomes for students in the program. The study, which included all four Reading Partners regions in California (the Los Angeles Area, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, and Silicon Valley), concluded in the fall of 2018.

“While the Child Trends study was conducted in California, it has big implications for students, tutors, and AmeriCorps members in all 14 of our regions nationwide,” said Karine Apollon, CEO of Reading Partners.

The study highlights the depth and breadth of impact Reading Partners is having in communities through our program that helps foster strong relationships and positive learning opportunities.

Reading Partners has a 20-year history of strong results

  • Over the past 20 years, we’ve partnered with 75 school districts and 350 schools across the country

  • We have engaged nearly 55,000 volunteer tutors to deliver one-on-one literacy support to more than 50,000 students

  • Our community tutors have delivered more than 1.5 million tutoring sessions

  • 95 percent of Reading Partners volunteers are satisfied with their experience

National Mentoring Month offers volunteers an opportunity to support local students

January is National Mentoring Month, an ideal time for volunteers to get involved in programs that support today’s youth. Reading Partners aims to recruit and train nearly nearly 14,000 volunteers nationwide this school year to serve as literacy tutors for over 11,000 struggling readers. To learn more about Reading Partners and our 14 regions, or to sign up to volunteer, please visit

For any and all media inquiries, please contact Julia Strasdauskas from Collins + Wilson at

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