Economically disadvantaged students across DC struggle to keep pace with their peers in reading proficiency. In 2017, fewer than 22% who were eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch were at grade level for literacy and language arts – a disturbing statistic indeed. But Reading Partners is dedicated to reversing the trend, providing its transformational literacy program to 925 young readers each year at 19 Title I elementary schools across the District. It creates welcoming reading centers stocked with books, and trains 40-100 volunteers per school to provide, with on-site support from trained AmeriCorps members, one-on-one instruction that follows a research-based curriculum. All children have Individualized Reading Plans, and regular assessments measure their progress – and reveal impressive results. Last year, 88% of students met or exceeded their year-end goals for literacy growth. Your support opens books, and worlds, for these deserving kids.
During the school closures this spring, Reading Partners gave partner schools multiple options: coordinating virtual story times, sharing a digital resource library, and hosting virtual family literacy nights through DCPS's distance learning platform. It also started implementing small group distance tutoring sessions and providing distance-learning materials for Spanish-speaking students at a partner schools in Ward 7 where just a handful of English Language Learners were enrolled. As Reading Partners Connects launched this fall, staff remain dedicated to fostering a supportive, structured space where students can continue to achieve measurable literacy growth.