Reading Power

    Working in partnership with underserved schools, Reading Power provides one-to-one tutoring during the school day for children in prekindergarten through second grade. Our mission is to accelerate children’s literacy learning, and to develop in them a love of reading and writing. All children deserve to reach their intellectual potential!

    Reading Power tutors prekindergarten, kindergarten, first and second grade students in North Chicago and first and second grade students in 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 3,000 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.

    Reading Power’s prekindergarten program was developed to provide opportunities for oral language development through high quality literature and conversation. This is our only push-in model and all children have opportunities to read with our tutors.

    Our 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 have consistently demonstrated two to seven times the literacy gains compared to their non-tutored peers. Students are selected using data and in collaboration with school staff.

    Each volunteer tutor devotes about three hours 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 session follows a set lesson plan that is individualized for them, based on their reading level.

    Reading Power has about 200 trained volunteers who deliver the program under the direction of our professional reading staff and Director of Programs, Lisa Bulzoni MEd. Each new tutor receives nine hours of training in the beginning of the year and midyear training is provided as a refresher for all tutors.