Important COVID-19 information: Our Programs | FAQs | Resources for families

Back to News

September 7, 2016

Reading Partners announces strong student reading progress in Washington, DC from volunteer-led tutoring program

For Immediate Release

Karen Gardner, Executive Director, Reading Partners Washington, DC

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

(Washington, DC) September 7, 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. 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 and include the following highlights and many more.

  • In the Washington, DC region:

    • More than 900 students at 18 partner schools were matched with nearly 1,000 community volunteers who delivered over 33,000 tutoring sessions over the course of the year.

    • Among Reading Partners’ youngest students in Washington, DC, 94% mastered key foundational reading skills needed to read at grade level.

    • Based on survey responses, 100% of principals report improved school-wide reading progress, 99% of teachers report Reading Partners is valuable to their school and 94% of volunteers were satisfied with their experience.

    • Learn more about Reading Partners’ impact in Washington, DC here.

    • Learn about Reading Partners’ national impact here.

“We are incredibly proud of the success of the past school year. We served more students in more schools than ever before, and we are honored to have the largest ongoing volunteer corps in the city serving our students,” said Karen Gardner, Executive Director of Reading Partners Washington, DC. “This coming school year, in order to fulfill our promise to DC students, we need 1,100 people to commit just one hour a week as a reading partner for our students.”

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. 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 Washington, DC, only 15 percent of fourth graders from low-income families are currently reading at grade level.

In the 2016-17 school year, Reading Partners aims to match more than 1,100 community volunteers with nearly 1,000 struggling readers in Washington, DC. 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.

Joanna Absill, one of the many community tutors in Washington, DC said, “For me to see the students’ reading scores throughout the year and see the improvements first-hand is really exciting – that’s why I’m there!”

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 visit 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.

  • Logo for Accelerate
  • Logo for Five Below
  • Logo for Hellman Foundation
  • Logo for Bezos Family Foundation
  • Logo for George Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Logo for Panda Cares
  • Logo for The Duke Endowment
  • Logo for Deerbrook Charitable Trust

Thanks to our partners

Site by Vermilion Credits Privacy Policy ©2024 Reading Partners