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September 1, 2016

Reading Partners announces strong student reading progress in Baltimore from volunteer-led tutoring program

For Immediate Release

Jeffrey Zwillenberg, Executive Director, Reading Partners Baltimore, (410) 585-4446

Nonprofit calls for more community tutors in 2016-17 to expand impact

(Baltimore, Maryland) August 31, 2016 — Reading Partners is a national nonprofit organization that collaborates with local public schools and mobilizes community volunteers to provide students in under-resourced schools with the proven, individualized reading support they need to read at grade level by fourth grade.

Reading Partners transforms a dedicated space into a Reading Center, complete with a library and teaching tools managed by a full-time AmeriCorps member or staff member. Reading Partners collaborates with teachers and principals to identify students reading behind grade level, and provides them with personalized literacy instruction.

2015-16 Results

Reading Partners prides itself on running a program that is both highly effective and transparent. In that spirit, the nonprofit organization issues annual impact reports spotlighting national-level performance as well as performance results in all 14 of its regions across the country. The impact reports for the 2015-16 school year have recently been posted on readingpartners.organd include the following highlights and many more.

  • In the Baltimore region:

    • 844 students at 14 Title I partner schools were matched with nearly 950 community volunteers who delivered more than 29,000 tutoring sessions over the course of the year.

    • Among Reading Partners’ youngest students in Baltimore, 86% mastered key foundational reading skills needed to read at grade level.

    • Based on survey responses, 92% of principals report improved school-wide reading progress, 97% of teachers report Reading Partners is valuable to their school and 97% of volunteers were satisfied with their experience.

    • Learn more about Reading Partners’ impact in Baltimore here.

    • Learn about Reading Partners’ national impact here.

Jeffrey Zwillenberg, Executive Director of Reading Partners Baltimore, shared his perspective about the results. “Since our launch in 2012, Reading Partners has sought to address the literacy crisis in our city by working with community volunteers, schools and partners to help students become not merely strong readers, but lovers of reading. We are immensely proud of the accomplishments of our students and are grateful for the time and dedication of our volunteers.” 

More Volunteers Needed in the 2016-17 School Year

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in 2015, only 21 percent of low-income students nationwide, and 36 percent of students overall, are reading proficiently by the fourth grade. This means that nearly nine million low-income elementary school students are still learning to read when they should instead be reading to learn. 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. In fact, students who can’t read by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school or not earn a high school diploma.

In Baltimore City, the situation is even worse. Only 9 percent of low-income fourth-graders and 11 percent of fourth-graders overall are reading proficiently. Our struggling readers are falling well behind in literacy skill development compared to their national group of peers in the same grade.

In the 2016-17 school year, Reading Partners aims to match 1,400 community volunteers with 1,150 struggling readers in Baltimore. By tutoring a student one-on-one for as little as an hour a week, volunteers can make an impact that can quite literally alter the course of a child’s educational experience and life.

Colleen, a fourth-year volunteer tutor with Reading Partners Baltimore, has seen and experienced firsthand the impact tutoring can have with her many students. “I now have a strong belief in the power of education to change lives because I see it happening every week at Reading Partners.”

The impressive student results highlighted above and in the corresponding impact reports would not be possible without the generous participation of thousands of community volunteers. To become a volunteer with Reading Partners, please today.

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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