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"Mobilizing Volunteer Tutors to Improve Student Literacy"

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Reading Partners, a one-on-one literacy program, provides an inexpensive model for boosting children's reading skills, a new evaluation has concluded.

The education and social-policy research group MDRC analyzed the reading skills of 1,200 2nd through 5th graders in 19 schools across three states who did or did not participate in Reading Partners. The program staffs school-based reading centers with one full-time teacher supported by 40 to 100 community volunteers who pledge 90 minutes of tutoring each week.

Students in the program for a year showed the equivalent of two extra months' growth in reading comprehension, fluency, and sight-word reading—three indicators of reading proficiency—as measured by national tests, compared to a control group, 65 percent of whom also had supplemental reading services.

Moreover, the cost for schools to implement the program—about $710 per student—was less than half of the average $1,710-per-student cost of other supplemental reading services.

Vol. 34, Issue 24, Page 5

Published in Print: March 18, 2015, as Literacy
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