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October 29, 2018

New five-year study shows that Reading Partners helps students make significant gains

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For Immediate Release 

FIVE-YEAR STUDY FUNDED BY MILE HIGH UNITED WAY SHOWS THAT READING PARTNERS HELPS STUDENTS IN UNDER- RESOURCED SCHOOLS MAKE SIGNIFICANT READING GAINS

Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates (APA) finds that Reading Partners implements its program with fidelity while helping students improve critical literacy skills

(Denver, CO) October 10, 2018 — In the 2017-18 school year, nearly 11,000 students from under-resourced elementary schools received trajectory changing one-on-one literacy tutoring in Reading Partners reading centers. The national nonprofit recruits and trains more than 13,000 volunteers in 14 regions across the country to serve as literacy tutors for struggling readers. Given the scale of students reached by Reading Partners, it’s encouraging that an independent, five-year, Colorado-based study conducted by Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates (APA) has affirmed the strength of the Reading Partners program. APA is a national education research and evaluation company with over 30 years of experience analyzing public education systems and policies.

Topline study findings from APA about the Reading Partners program:

  • Implemented with fidelity — Reading Partners was able to launch quickly, sustain, and implement its program with fidelity in a new region (Colorado). Students received an average of 32 tutoring sessions per year with students enrolling earlier in the year receiving more sessions.

  • Proven impact — The study found that Reading Partners’ program had a positive and statistically significant impact on the literacy skills of students served by Reading Partners in Colorado—and particularly English Language Learners (ELL)—, based on assessments administered by teachers.

  • Higher dosage is better — When comparing Reading Partners students to all comparison students, APA found a small, statistically significant positive effect of each additional tutoring session (i.e., more tutoring is associated with stronger performance).

“There are a number of reasons to be very excited about the study findings,” said APA’s Dale DeCesare. “First, the results indicate that in just one school year, students served by Reading Partners showed significantly higher growth on academic assessments than their comparison peers who did not receive the support. Second, in an environment where school districts are searching for programs to help close persistent academic achievement gaps, the study clearly found that the gap between ELL and non-ELL students was actually reversed for students who participated in Reading Partners, with ELL students in the program out-performing their non-ELL peers.”

The APA study, funded by Mile High United Way with a grant from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), attained a moderate level of evidence under SIF’s rigorous evidence framework. The study was initiated in the 2012-13 school year and completed in 2016-17, and included 698 Reading Partners students and 853 comparison students for a total sample size of 1,551 first to third grade students at 22 schools, primarily from Denver Public Schools (DPS). Among the Reading Partners students in the study, 92 percent were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, 94 percent were non-white and 55 percent qualified as English Language Learners (ELL).

“Our students love Reading Partners,” said Susana Cordova, Deputy Superintendent at Denver Public Schools. “They get treated like VIPs and increase their reading skills while also building a solid relationship with a caring adult. “

Explore more about the APA study and other research about Reading Partners below:

Reading Partners is a critical supporter of student literacy in Colorado

Since its inception in the state in 2012, Reading Partners Colorado and its volunteers have delivered 122,000 hours of one-on-one literacy tutoring to over 3,500 students. During the 2017-18 school year alone, Reading Partners partnered with 10 DPS school communities to serve 629 students with the support of 830 volunteers. On average, students received 38 tutoring sessions during the school year culminating in 85 percent of students having met or exceeded their primary end-of-year literacy growth goal. Based on its program success and positive student impact, Reading Partners will continue to serve students in Denver Public Schools in the 2018-19 school year while also expanding to serve students in several schools in Westminster Public Schools.

To learn more about Reading Partners or to sign up to volunteer, please visit ReadingPartners.org.

For any and all media inquiries, please feel free to contact Margie Thirlby, senior executive director of Reading Partners Colorado at margie.thirlby@readingpartners.org, or Abby McClelland, senior associate at APA at AJM@apaconsulting.net.

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About Reading Partners

For 20 years, Reading Partners has empowered students to succeed in reading and in life by engaging community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring. Since its founding, the national nonprofit organization has mobilized nearly 55,000 community volunteers to provide proven, individualized literacy tutoring to more than 50,000 elementary school students in under-resourced schools across ten states and the District of Columbia. Visit readingpartners.org to learn more about our program impact, or connect with us on FacebookLinkedIn,Twitter, and Instagram.

About Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates

Founded in 1983, APA Consulting is an independent education research and evaluation company with extensive experience analyzing public education systems and policies. Using a variety of research techniques, including education data analysis, literature reviews, interviews, surveys, panel or focus group discussions, and statistical analyses, APA helps public education stakeholders solve problems so they can meet student performance goals and improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of our nation’s public schools.

Contact: 

Margie Thirlby
Executive Director, Reading Partners Colorado
206.992.5512  | margie.thirlby@readingpartners.org

Abby McClelland
Senior Associate, Augenblick, Palaich, and Associates
720.227.0076  | AJM@apaconsulting.net

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