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November 15, 2016

Community tutors needed to help elementary students in Baltimore get off waitlist for popular literacy program

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Jeffrey Zwillenberg , Executive Director, Reading Partners Baltimore
(410) 585-4446,  jeffrey.zwillenberg@readingpartners.org

Tutor sign-ups needed before the holiday season to provide 500 students in under-resourced schools with critical one-on-one literacy support

(Baltimore, MD) November 15, 2016 — In the wake of a long, divisive campaign season, investing in community engagement and striving to bridge cultural and class divides has renewed importance. One thing that nearly everyone agrees with is that we want to provide educational opportunity to all children so they can pursue their dreams with purpose. Learning to read proficiently in elementary school plays a crucial role in helping students achieve success, and Reading Partners is a place where communities can truly come together in service of that common objective.

Reading Partners is a national nonprofit that collaborates with community volunteers and local public schools in Baltimore to equip students with the foundational skills they need to be able to read at grade level by fourth grade. The proven early literacy organization has been providing volunteer-led, individualized reading support to students in under-resourced public elementary schools in Baltimore since 2012. It is critical that Reading Partners students are enrolled in the program before the holiday season in order to maximize the number of tutoring sessions they receive and put them on the best path to proficiency. Currently, there are over 500 students at 19 elementary schools waiting for tutors in Baltimore City. 

Reading Partners volunteers are matched one-on-one with students in kindergarten through fourth grade who are reading anywhere from a few months to two and a half years below grade level. Volunteers utilize an easy-to-follow, individualized lesson plan each week, specific to their students’ needs in order to meet them at their level and help build both literacy skills and confidence. Tutors typically commit to one hour a week with the same student for the duration of the academic school year.

Pat Yeager, a third-year tutor at the Historic Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary says, “The sense of accomplishment and joy that Reading Partners has brought into my life is really difficult to put into words. Thanks to Reading Partners, I have made a difference in children’s lives and that makes me so abundantly happy.”

There are countless inspiring stories of high-impact volunteerism taking place in Reading Partners reading centers in Baltimore, including the following:

  1. Cristo Rey Jesuit High School students tutor with Reading Partners one full day a week as a part of their own academic enrichment. Reading Partners students form a unique bond with tutors from Cristo Rey who provide a valuable model of what success can look like.

  2. Partnership is at the core of Reading Partners recruitment efforts, and Hord Coplan Macht Architecture Firm is leading the way. Not only do they support Reading Partners by tutoring, donating, and collecting books, but Senior Associate, Casey Smith, recently joined the regional advisory board.

  3. Retired community member, Leonardo Knight has been a tutor at Matthew A. Henson Elementary since the 2015-2016 school year. This year, Leonardo moved his schedule in order to be available twice a week to tutor his same student from last year. He goes above and beyond each week, preparing flash cards for his student and reading him funny books aligned with his interests.

Today, only one in five fourth graders from low-income families is reading at grade level. Reading is the foundation for all future learning. Without developing the reading skills needed to read on grade level, kids won’t have an equitable chance to succeed in school or in life. With the dedication of more than 14,000 volunteer tutors in Baltimore, MD and across the US, Reading Partners’ volunteers will help more than thousands of students make the all-important shift from learning to read to reading to learn.

To become a tutor or to learn more, please visit ReadingPartners.org/locations/baltimore.

About Reading Partners

Reading Partners empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring. The national nonprofit organization will provide proven, individualized literacy tutoring to more than 11,000 elementary school students in under-resourced schools across ten states and the District of Columbia in the 2016-17 school year.  Visit readingpartners.org, or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, to learn more.

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