How long are students generally in the program?
As soon as students are matched with a tutor they are enrolled in the program. Students are enrolled for two tutoring sessions each week, and on average, students complete 30 Reading Partners sessions within the school year. We evaluate and track student progress on an annual basis. Students are re-evaluated each year to ensure high needs students are prioritized for our program.
Why does Reading Partners only work in Title I schools?
We believe that reading unlocks opportunity and that every child deserves the opportunity to learn this fundamental skill. Research shows that children experiencing poverty face immense educational barriers and enter elementary school already further behind their peers who are not experiencing poverty.
Learn more about Title I schools and federal funding here.
How does Reading Partners select students for the program?
Our program team and program coordinators work closely with teachers and principals to identify high needs students. To be enrolled in Reading Partners, students must meet the following criteria:
- Kindergarten through fourth-grade student,
- Six months to 2.5 years behind grade level in reading, and
- Attend one of our partner schools.
Is it acceptable to buy my student a gift?
Giving student gifts is sometimes prohibited due to individual school policies. Please make sure to check with your program coordinator before bringing anything for your student. Tutors may sometimes give small gifts to the student, such as a book that has been pre-approved by the program coordinator. Gifts of candy, food, toys, or any other sort cannot be given to students.
How can I get my student to be more interested and/or focused during our tutoring session?
Your first resource for help as a tutor is always your program coordinator, who is trained to support both your needs and those of the students. Program coordinators can suggest specific strategies to meet student needs, have conversations with students to support you, and seek input from teachers about what works in the classroom. In addition, we suggest you review the Tips for Student Engagement Checklist and Setting an Agenda video for specific strategies you might find helpful.
Can I contact my student’s parent/guardian to discuss tutoring and reading at home?
A: All student interaction must take place only at the reading center and with the supervision of Reading Partners staff. Reading Partners cannot give tutors permission to interact with students outside of the Reading Partners environment. Permission for interaction with students outside of Reading Partners can be given only by the school or school district. In addition, tutors should never share their personal contact information with students, including but not limited to home phone numbers, cell phone numbers, online contact information or any addresses.
How do I know if my student is making progress over time?
A: Reading Partners program coordinators assess students four times throughout the year. Assessment results and the goals for student progress are shared in the student folder via the Instructional Reading Plan (IRP). In addition, all sites have progress monitoring systems in place. If you are concerned about your student’s progress, talking to your program coordinator is a first step. They can share observations and insights, as well as information collected from the student’s teacher.
How do I know if my student understands what is being taught?
Students sometimes need to revisit topics several times before a concept is cemented, which is a normal part of the learning process. To learn more about this topic, you can download the ‘checking for understanding’ checklist. If you feel you have reviewed a topic several times and the student is not comprehending, make sure to reach out to your program coordinator for assistance.
Can I meet with my student’s teacher to learn more about my student and his/her progress?
Tutors who pick up and/or drop off students should be considerate of both the instructional flow of the classroom and confidentiality of student information. All questions and/or concerns about a student should be directed to the program coordinator, who serves as the liaison between the tutor and the student’s classroom teacher. We ask that tutors schedule themselves to be in the reading center at least 10 minutes before and after each session. This is an ideal time to discuss student progress, challenges, and action plans with the site coordinator.
Who administers testing for students?
Reading tests are administered by Reading Partners program coordinators.
The tutoring session
How does the curriculum align with classroom learning? Does it align with Common Core?
Our curriculum is aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which have been adopted by most states in which Reading Partners operates. The curriculum also is aligned to other state standards. Aligning with CCSS and state learning standards ensures that our volunteer reading partners provide instruction that supports students’ work in their classrooms.
Can I prepare for my in‑person tutoring session outside of the reading center?
At this time, Reading Partners does not make curriculum materials for in-person tutoring available outside of the reading center. By arriving to your tutoring session at least 10 minutes early, you can review the day’s lesson and discuss individualized strategies with the program coordinator. Tutors can also review videos and material throughout the Resource Hub.
Why can’t I spend more time reading aloud to my student during our tutoring session?
The Tutor Read Aloud is included so students have an opportunity to hear good reading. The Reading Partners program focuses on the specific skills needed to be a good reader. These are introduced and practiced through our curriculum and should be the focus of your time with the student.
If you find that your student is excited about a particular book during the Tutor Read Aloud, make sure to note in your tutor notes where you left off in your reading, and the student can continue the book in their next session.
Can I bring outside books and materials into my tutoring session?
Research has confirmed that when our curriculum is implemented as designed, students make progress in reading. If you feel your student will benefit from additional strategies, please discuss concerns with your program coordinator. They can determine if additional materials can be incorporated into the tutoring session appropriately.
We sometimes allow tutors to bring read aloud books to better meet student interests. Prior to bringing outside books or introducing them to the students, please discuss with the program coordinator to ensure they are approved and appropriately leveled for the student.
What kind of training will I receive?
Orientation – All volunteers must complete a required tutor orientation to learn more about Reading Partners’ mission, model, and tutoring strategies. Each orientation usually lasts one to two hours depending on the delivery model, and will prepare you to deliver the Reading Partners curriculum prior to your first session with your student.
Ongoing training – AmeriCorps program coordinators will offer ongoing coaching and support in both in-person and online tutoring opportunities. Never hesitate to ask questions.
Reading Partners also provides ongoing training events on a variety of relevant subjects and strategies. These are one-hour long trainings that engage reading partners from across the region to learn new strategies and share their tips and experiences. Ask a Reading Partners team member for more information on available trainings in your region.
What’s the difference between Reading Partners Traditional and Reading Partners Connects?
Reading Partners Traditional is our in-person tutoring program. Reading Partners Connects is our online tutoring platform.
Here’s how to get started with each of these two program delivery types:
Reading Partners Traditional:
- Sign up at readingpartners.org/volunteer.
- Complete a tutor orientation.
- Complete a background check and any other clearance requirements (e.g. proof of vaccination).
- Get scheduled for tutoring at a day/time that works for you and one of our students.
- Meet your student! Tutoring takes place in-person at the student’s school site.
Reading Partners Connects:
- Sign up at readingpartners.org/volunteer.
- Complete a tutor orientation.
- Complete a background check.
- Pass a tech check.
- Get scheduled for tutoring for a day/time that works for you and one of our students.
- Meet your student! Tutoring takes place virtually using Zoom or Google Meet. Volunteers need access to reliable, password protected WiFi, PC, Mac, or Chromebook computer with a functioning webcam and microphone.
What if I can’t make it to a session one week?
Consistency is important with your student, but we understand that everyone has busy schedules and scheduling conflicts that arise. Let your program coordinator know ahead of time so that we can inform the student and try to schedule a make-up session.
How is Reading Partners making decisions about the health and safety of staff members, AmeriCorps members, volunteers, and students as long as the public health crisis persists?
Reading Partners is operating out of an abundance of caution to keep our students, schools, volunteers, AmeriCorps members, and staff safe. We are continually monitoring the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines and will respond to any changes in current status and adapt to suggested modifications to behaviors or our operations during this time. Our regional teams are following all state and local government suggested actions to keep students, volunteers, and AmeriCorps members safe, and they are communicating regularly with our partner schools and school districts to stay apprised of any distance learning decisions or local health concerns.
Learn more about our safety protocols in schools.