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November 29, 2016

After a divisive election, it's time to take action to support early literacy

For Immediate Release


Karen Casanova, Executive Director, Reading Partners Twin Cities
(612) 408-5072,

Taking action to support early literacy in the Twin Cities through Reading Partners after a divisive election season

(St. Paul, Minnesota) November 28, 2016 — In the wake of a long, divisive campaign season, engaging in our communities and striving to bridge cultural and class divides has renewed importance. Regardless of the diverse political views held across our country, one thing that nearly everyone agrees with is the importance of providing 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 academic, professional, and life success, and Reading Partners is a place where communities can truly come together in service of that common objective.

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 reading proficiency. Currently, there are over 250 students at eleven elementary schools waiting for tutors in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“Just last week, we learned that the Twin Cities had reclaimed the title of the top community in the nation for volunteering,” says Executive Director Karen Casanova. According to a report issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service more than one million residents gave 88.4 million hours of service in 2015. “It is imperative that we put some of that time to work to support our students who struggle with reading to ensure they have the skills to succeed in school and in life.”

How Reading Partners Works

Reading Partners is a proven national nonprofit that mobilizes community volunteers in the Twin Cities to provide individualized reading support to students in under-resourced elementary schools and equip them with the foundational skills they need to be able to read at grade level by fourth grade. 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.

“I’ve been supporting public education in Minneapolis for decades, both on a policy level as a Minneapolis School Board chair, and on the ground as a parent,” shared Reading Partners Regional Board member and tutor Catherine Shreves. “Given the challenges so many of our young students face, including housing instability, I am particularly grateful for the opportunity Reading Partners provides me to make a difference in the life of one very special 3rd grade student at Richard R. Green Central Park Elementary. I meet with him each week, one-on-one, to support his reading skills with an excellent structured curriculum provided by Reading Partners.  It enriches my life to know that I am helping him develop a skill that will be the very foundation of his future. It renews my hope in our community’s future.  I invite others in the Twin Cities to join me in this important and rewarding work.”

With only one in five fourth graders from low-income families in Minnesota reading at grade level, thousands of kids are counting on Reading Partners and community volunteers to be a steady presence for them as they gain one of the most critical skills needed to be our future leaders. Reading is the foundation for all future learning and Reading Partners tutors take action to help students make the all-important shift from learning to read to reading to learn.

To become a Reading Partner’s tutor or to learn more, please visit

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, or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, to learn more.

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