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November 4, 2016

Literacy organization partners with DC Schools to improve reading

Originally published by ABC 7 WJLA.
By Kellye Lynn

WASHINGTON (ABC7) — Seven-year-old Marqies Clark makes reading a priority by digging into at least one book a day. The second grader at Aiton Elementary in Northeast told ABC7 News, “It is very important for people so you can get smarter.”

Clark is doing exactly that with the the help of an organization called Reading Partners. Executive Director Karen Gardner explained, “Students enrolled in Reading Partners are any where from a few months behind grade level in reading to up to two and a half years behind grade level in reading. We work with them with a very tailored approach to help them close their literacy gap.”

The national program places volunteer tutors in 20 of D.C.’s neediest schools. The goal is to have students reading at grade level by the fourth grade. According to Reading Partners, students who are not reading at grade level by the fourth grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school on time.Aiton Elementary Principal Malaika Golden added, “The one-on-one tutoring allows us to pair up students with a tutor and meet them where they are and they get that individualized attention; something that a classroom teacher with multiple students can’t necessarily provide every day.”The White House invited Reading Partners to share details of its success at the My Brother’s Keeper What Works Showcase in October. Gardner says the program that once served 200 D.C. public school students is now assisting 975. “As a result of our program, 87 percent of our students this year were able to gain the essential skills that they needed to be on track to becoming proficient readers,” she offered.

Seven-year-old Essence Greene likes getting the extra attention from her reading tutor. “I think it’s fun,” she shared.

To learn more about Reading Partners or to volunteer as a tutor go to

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