Reading Power is a literacy tutoring program serving low-achieving children attending elementary schools. Our mission is to accelerate children’s literacy learning and to develop in them a love of reading and writing. We accomplish this goal through an independent tutoring program working in partnership with schools. Reading Power helps students be successful readers whatever their levels. We believe all children deserve to reach their intellectual potential.
Reading Power tutors kindergarten, first and second grade students in North Chicago and Zion, Illinois. We provide early literacy interventions in hopes of breaking the cycle, identified by research, of poverty resulting in low literacy. Reading Power is:
• Led by professionals
• Powered by trained volunteers
• Professionally developed based on cutting-edge, research-based curricula
• Occurs during the school day three – five days a week
Since 2003, over 1,700 children who struggled to read and write have received one-to-one tutoring, accelerating their learning and changing their lives, and the lives of their tutors, in incalculable ways. Our success is documented both quantitatively and qualitatively. In addition to tutoring, Reading Power serves as an advocate for our students, distributes books for children to own, keeps in contact with parents, and works closely with school officials.
Two different programs have been developed to serve kindergarten and first/second grade. Reading Power’s one-to-one first grade tutoring intervention is modeled in part after Project Prevent, a program developed by National-Louis University, and incorporates facets of Reading Recovery, an internationally renowned early intervention literacy program created by educational researcher Marie Clay. The kindergarten and second grade curricula were developed by Reading Power Founder Dr. Mary Jane Hender for the North Chicago elementary schools and adapted for use by volunteer tutors. Reading Power has proven success in improving students’ literacy. Reading Power students show two to seven times the literacy gains compared to their non-tutored peers. Fifty-six percent of our kindergarten students meet the assessment target. In first grade, 56% met the CBM grade level target and 43% of second grade met the target.
Each volunteer tutor devotes a half-day each week (morning or afternoon). During this time each tutor instructs three first/second grade or four kindergarten students. First and second grade student receive 35 minutes of tutoring daily and kindergarten students are tutored for 20 minutes three afternoons a week. Each first and second grade student reads four books, writes a sentence, and works on sounds and recognition daily. By the end of the year, all students author a book through the Writer’s Workshop program. Each student is tutored based on a standard lesson plan that is customized to his or her individual level.
Reading Power has about 200 trained volunteers to deliver the program under the direction of our professional reading staff and reading specialist/program director, Rebecca Mullen, MSEd. Each tutor receives 6 hours of training in the program and undergoes three hours of refresher training each year.