Nonprofit Looking for ‘Reading Partners’

The national nonprofit organization Reading Partners North Texas is looking for volunteers | Image by Reading Partners

The national non-profit organization Reading Partners North Texas is looking for volunteers to help children learn and improve their reading skills. 

The organization works with school-aged children who struggle with reading and need individual help to achieve grade-level reading by the fourth grade.

Volunteers conduct an hour-long tutoring session with each student using an evidence-based structured curriculum developed by a team of expert curriculum advisors.

Strong reading skills are essential and are the foundation of learning. Children who fall behind in reading in third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school, according to a research study conducted by Donald J. Hernandez, a sociology professor at Hunter College and senior advisor to the Foundation for Child Development.

Reading Partners works with children, parents, teachers, and community volunteers to provide the support necessary to ensure each child’s success.

The state’s STAAR test scores for third-graders reflect that DISD students have struggled with reading during the last two testing cycles. In 2019, DISD third graders, on average, scored three percentage points below the state average of 76%. For fourth graders, the numbers were even worse: only 58% of students passed with an “at / approaches grade level” score, while the state average was 63%. 

Reading Partners was started in 1999 in Menlo Park, California, by three community members committed to helping children learn to read at grade level with a one-on-one approach. The program’s goal is to ensure every third-grader can read at grade level before advancing to the fourth grade.

In 2012, Reading Partners North Texas launched in Dallas. Initially, the Dallas chapter started with 80 students in two elementary schools.

Going into its 11th year, Reading Partners is looking for community volunteers for the new school year. 

“Volunteers should have at least one free hour at the same time every week and a desire to give back to their community and invest in a child’s future,” Jennifer Quick, community engagement officer with Reading Partners North Texas, told NBC DFW. “No experience is needed, and we provide training and lesson materials. Tutors work with the same student each week and get to see and celebrate their progress over the course of the year.” 

Volunteers must be 14 years old or older and be able to commit to one hour per week. Participants must complete training, pass a background test, agree to the code of conduct, and have access to a computer and a reliable Wi-Fi network. 

To volunteer and learn more, visit ReadingPartners.org.

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