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August 24, 2020

Reading Partners Baltimore accelerates online tutoring plans to support urgent student literacy needs

For Immediate Release

Contact: Christine Pannell

Marketing & Communications Manager, Reading Partners Baltimore

(443) 466-6690,

Nonprofit shares 2019-20 impact results and rolls out its new Reading Partners Connects program in time for the new school year 

(Baltimore, MD) August 24, 2020 

Innovating in rapid time to support students

As students across the country face school closures and other learning disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reading Partners has redoubled its efforts to ensure that its program can support students throughout any learning scenario. Building off its proven, evidence-based in-person program, Reading Partners Baltimore is launching a new online tutoring program: Reading Partners Connects.

What is Reading Partners Connects?

Reading Partners Connects is an innovative online tutoring program that will allow Reading Partners Baltimore to continue to partner with schools and provide volunteer-led one-on-one literacy instruction to students during fully virtual and hybrid learning scenarios. The online program ensures that students receive consistent tutoring even as their learning environment may shift throughout the year, offering a level of learning continuity and support. Reading Partners Connects also expands Reading Partners Baltimore’s ability to support even more students and families in the future.

“Reading Partners Connects isn’t just a reaction to COVID-19 but an intended evolution of our programming that increases our ability to support students,” said Jeffrey Zwillenberg, Reading Partners Baltimore Executive Director. “We can offer students the one-on-one literacy tutoring that teachers may not have the capacity to offer at a time when individualized support will be needed more than ever.”

Communities are stepping up to confront an extraordinary challenge

As an indication that people across the country are proactively looking for ways to help students amid the public health crisis, over 2,000 people signed up to attend a national Reading Partners Connects virtual information session on August 20. And while studies project more than 12 months of learning loss due to COVID-19-related school closures for students experiencing economic disadvantages, tutors are well-positioned to engage students with the flexibility, patience, and empathy needed to help them make the literacy gains they need to keep progressing academically.

Reading Partners is a proven literacy program that can adapt to COVID-19 challenges

Despite the seismic interruption to the normal school year last spring, Reading Partners responded quickly across the nation to deliver timely student literacy solutions. Locally, Reading Partners Baltimore was able to serve 506 students through March with its traditional in-school program and then urgently shifted to online offerings designed to help Reading Partners students preserve as much learning progress as possible. All of the results from the 2019-20 school year can be reviewed in the impact & innovation report.

Support for students is needed now more than ever

A late-July business article in The New York Times observed that many nonprofits are facing funding shortages and other operational challenges at the very time their services are needed most by society. There are three key ways to help strengthen Reading Partners Baltimore’s efforts to provide innovative literacy support to students across the city:

• Make a donation at to allow Reading Partners to continue innovating throughout the unpredictable school year ahead.
• Returning volunteers can commit to tutoring this fall using the new Reading Partners Connects program. Additional training and tech support will be provided for all tutors.
• New volunteers can sign up online to stay up-to-date about Reading Partners Baltimore’s efforts and prepare to tutor later this fall.

By tutoring a student one-on-one for about an hour a week, volunteers can make an impact that can quite literally alter the course of a child’s educational experience and life. To learn more about Reading Partners, visit

reading partners connects baltimore

A Reading Partners student works remotely with a volunteer tutor using the Reading Partners Connects program innovation (photo credit: Reading Partners)

reading partners connects baltimore

reading partners connects baltimore

Photos of students and volunteer tutors in reading centers engaging in Reading Partners’ traditional tutoring program (Photo Credit: Reading Partners)


About Reading Partners

For over 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 70,000 community volunteers to provide proven, individualized literacy tutoring to more than 65,000 elementary school students in nearly 450 under-resourced schools across ten states and the District of Columbia. Visit to learn more about our program impact, or connect with us on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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