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September 7, 2023

Reading Partners is ramping up in 2023-24 to expand literacy access and educational equity

Local nonprofit delivered over 9,600 one-on-one tutoring sessions and over 9,300 books to hundreds of students in the Twin Cities last year

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – September 7th, 2023  — Three years after the start of the pandemic, reading scores for Twin Cities students continue to decline, according to recent state testing data, with only 36% of students in Minneapolis and St. Paul reading at grade level, about seven percentage points below pre-pandemic levels. The learning loss due to the pandemic is only exacerbating racial disparities that have persisted for decades. According to a report from the The Northwest Evaluation Association, it’s estimated that most students would now need, on average, an additional 4 months of reading instruction in order to recover. In order to provide more students with reading support, Reading Partners Twin Cities, a local literacy tutoring nonprofit, is scaling up services to serve over 400 students in the upcoming school year with one-on-one, evidence-based reading tutoring. By expanding Reading Partners’ program to six new school partners, more students across the Twin Cities metro area will have access to high quality reading instruction at a critical time.

“At Reading Partners Twin Cities, we believe that all students have the ability to read when they have access to the educational resources and opportunities they deserve,” said Brooke Rivers, executive director of Reading Partners Twin Cities. “Fortunately, we know that literacy tutoring can unlock lasting learning opportunities for systematically-disadvantaged students, and therefore profoundly impact their academic achievement and establishing a lifelong love of reading. As a high-impact, proven solution, this is the right place and the right time for Reading Partners.”

Another new initiative Reading Partners has been focused on is writing and publishing original books to be used in its own curriculum. COVER to COVER is a new book series that enables Reading Partners to develop content that is aligned with the science of reading as well as the scope and sequence of the organization’s online and in-person curricula. The stories include representative characters and themes so all students can see themselves reflected in the books they read while also having the opportunity to learn about the world around them through other people’s backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences.

2022-23 results highlight the literacy progress of Reading Partners’ students

In the 2022-23 school year, Reading Partners continued to provide critical literacy support to students, schools, and communities. In fact, the nonprofit provided one-on-one literacy tutoring to 40% more local students in the 2022-23 school year than the prior year. Each year, Reading Partners publishes reports highlighting student performance for the national organization and for each of its 12 respective regions across the country. The impact reports for the 2022-23 school year have recently been posted on readingpartners.org and include the following highlights in the Twin Cities.

  • 327 students received 12+ sessions of one-on-one tutoring

  • 9,638 total tutoring sessions were delivered to those same students

  • 489 community tutors supported students

  • 9,334 books were distributed to students through the “Take Reading With You” program

  • 80% of all Reading Partners students finished the year meeting or exceeding their primary end-of-year literacy growth goals

  • 91% of K-2 Reading Partners students were developing mastery of key foundational reading skills needed to read and grade level

  • In order to increase access to books and combat the “summer slide,” every student enrolled in Reading Partners received a Summer Backpack filled with 5 brand-new books and neighborhood resource guides

  • Learn more about Reading Partners’ impact in the Twin Cities here.

  • Learn about Reading Partners’ national impact here.

Volunteer support will help drive student impact in the Twin Cities

Heading into the new school year, Reading Partners Twin Cities anticipates needing 600 community volunteers to support students’ literacy development. Please follow this link if you’re interested in investing one hour a week to help empower a student through reading.

Reading Partners also gets help from AmeriCorps members to train and provide ongoing support to literacy volunteers. Please follow this link if you’re interested in becoming an AmeriCorps member at Reading Partners.

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About Reading Partners

For nearly 25 years, Reading Partners has helped empower students to succeed in school and beyond by engaging community volunteers to provide proven, one-on-one literacy tutoring. Since its founding, the national nonprofit organization has mobilized over 80,000 community volunteers to provide more than 2.7 million individualized literacy tutoring sessions to more than 75,000 elementary school students in over 500 under-resourced schools across ten states and the District of Columbia. Visit readingpartners.org to learn more about our program impact and our Reading Partners Connects online program innovation, or connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Reading Partners is a proud AmeriCorps service partner and has been endorsed by The New York Times and featured on The TODAY Show and GMA.

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