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March 2, 2018

170 elementary students need reading tutors

Each January, National Mentoring Month celebrates the power of mentoring relationships and calls on the community to play a supportive role in the lives of children.

This year, Reading Partners a literacy intervention nonprofit, marked the occasion by celebrating the role of mentors in reading. Its hope was to inspire more community members to make a “Resolution for Reading” by volunteering as a reading tutor for a local elementary student. In the Lowcountry, 170 students are still waiting for a tutor.

“The Reading Partners program allows volunteers, not just to mentor, but to teach a child to read. We know that mentorship is important. We see better outcomes when a strong bond has developed between tutor and student,” said Christine Messick, Community Engagement Manager for Reading Partners South Carolina.

January came to an end, but the search for volunteers did not. With February just beginning, and the Valentine’s Day season approaching, the nonprofit is hoping that this time, it will be ‘love’ – the love of reading, and the love of children – that will attract the remaining volunteers that they need.

In South Carolina, only a third of elementary school students are reading at grade level. “This is not a challenge. This is a crisis,” Messick explained. Fourth grade students who are unable to read, or who read poorly, are more likely to struggle academically, and to later drop out of high school.

The majority of Reading Partners’ students are in kindergarten through fifth grade. They attend under-resourced schools and have been identified by their principals or teachers as needing intervention if they are to catch up to grade level.

The volunteers who sign up to tutor, range from retirees to high school students, working professionals and stay-at-home parents. The Reading Partners model is straightforward. Each tutor works with one student at a time for at least one hour a week. No experience is necessary. Training and ongoing support is provided to ensure that all volunteers are successful in their roles.

Reading Partners is tutoring in 17 schools in the Lowcountry, but volunteers are especially being sought in the following, highest-need schools:

Charleston County

● Hunley Park Elementary – 1000 Michigan Avenue, Joint Base, North Charleston

● Pinehurst Elementary – 7753 Northside Drive, North Charleston

● A.C. Corcoran Elementary – 8585 Vistavia Road, North Charleston

● Pepperhill Elementary – 3300 Creola Road, North Charleston

Berkeley County

● H.E. Bonner Elementary – 171 Macedonia Foxes Circle, Moncks Corner

● St. Stephen Elementary – 1053 Russellville Rd, St. Stephen SC

● Whitesville Elementary – 324 State Road S-8-357, Moncks Corner

To learn more about volunteering with Reading Partners in South Carolina, please email volunteersc@readingpartners.org or call 843-860-3915.

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring. Since its founding, the national non-profit organization has provided proven, individualized literacy tutoring to nearly 45,000 elementary school students in under-resourced schools across 10 states and the District of Columbia. The organization was recognized as a Best Practice Honoree during the 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Awards. Visit readingpartners.org to learn more about their program impact, or connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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