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September 18, 2023

Reading Partners to expand literacy access and educational equity

Originally published by The Black Wall Street Times

TULSA, Okla.–Reading Partners Tulsa is gearing up to expand literacy access to students across the city, even as the state’s far-right superintendent claims not enough is being done to improve reading scores.

While Reading Partners’ online tutoring platform, Reading Partners Connects, was largely developed to help support students during the pandemic, the national nonprofit organization has worked to make its online tutoring even more interactive and to broaden the reach of the program to more students through national and community partnerships.

“Reading Partners Tulsa is committed to championing universal reading proficiency for every student in our community before fourth grade,” Executive Director, Olivia Martin, said.

student and tutor working on boosting students' literacy skills, as shown in webpage published by The Black Wall Street Times

“We partner with public school teachers, school and district administrators, non-profit organizations, local high school and college students, corporate and civic employees, and retirees to provide one-on-one, data-driven, and culturally-responsive tutoring for students across twenty-four elementary schools.”

In addition, Martin said students who reach grade-level reading proficiency prior to entering fourth grade are statistically much more likely to achieve academic success, attend and persist in college, and graduate with strong career prospects.

The crucial importance of reading

“Reading is a civil right and a civic responsibility, and Reading Partners Tulsa will never tire of partnering with our generous and engaged community to support a bright future for every student,” Martin said.

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. 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 and include the following highlights in Tulsa.

  • 734 students received 12+ sessions of one-on-one tutoring
  • 24,536 total tutoring sessions were delivered to those same students
  • 11% of sessions were delivered online via Reading Partners Connects
  • 967 community tutors supported students
  • 18,605 books were distributed to students through the “Take Reading With You” program
  • 83% of all Reading Partners students finished the year meeting or exceeding their primary end-of-year literacy growth goals
  • 83% of K-2 Reading Partners students were developing mastery of key foundational reading skills needed to read and grade level
  • 800+ students received Booked Up For Summer backpacks full of books and family literacy activities to support reading all summer
  • Learn more about Reading Partners’ impact in Tulsa here.
  • Learn about Reading Partners’ national impact here.

Rosemary Harris, five-year tutor and Reading Partners Tulsa Advisory Board member, continues to serve because “spending time with students is life changing for my students and for me,” Harris said. “Reading is the foundation for all learning, and only 45 minutes a week can make a real impact. Everyone should join us!”

Volunteer support will help drive student impact in Tulsa

Heading into the new school year, Reading Partners Tulsa anticipates needing 1,250 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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