Students reading below grade level at the end of 3rd grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school on time – a sobering statistic for the 81% of DC's 4th graders whose reading levels put them on track for failure in middle and high school. The Literacy Lab is devoted to increasing low-income children’s basic literacy skills. It now provides intensive reading intervention to over 1,000 students in grades pre-K to 5, (a significant jump from the year prior), 95% of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and each of whom has fallen an average of two years behind. Trained, professional instructors begin with a comprehensive assessment, create a personal plan for each child (focused on phonics, fluency, and comprehension), and meet one-on-one, or in groups of two or three, twice a week. And the intense focus pays off: students in the Literacy Lab's 50-hour program jump an average of 1.5 grade levels. Given a 5-star rating for three straight years by DCPS, the Literacy Lab brings to young DC students the ability to read, and the opportunity to succeed – in school and in life.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 1

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8; VA-Fairfax County; VA-City of Alexandria

Age Groups Served: Pre-K (3-4); Youth (5-11)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Latino/Hispanic; Other

Population(s) Served: Students; Low- to Moderate-Income

Schools They Work In: DC Public Schools; Alexandria City Public Schools; KIPP DC; EL Haynes Public Charter School ; Democracy Prep Public Charter School ; Bridges Public Charter School

  • Number of people (clients, patrons, students, etc) your organization serves annually:   1,000
  • Academic success level of your students (% performing at or above grade level, etc):  
    Students in our after-school programs average 1.5 grade levels of growth in 42 hours with The Literacy Lab.
  • Hours of tutoring, mentoring, or class-time you provide annually:   60,000

Awards & Recognition

10/2011 Lehrman Impact Award
2009-2012 5-star "Excellent" quality rating from DCPS Title I office


Budget (FY2012)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • The current budget for The Literacy Lab is: $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

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