Third Grade Reads
Third Grade Reads is a high-impact service strategy in which the mayor’s office leverages the power of volunteers to help children attain reading level proficiency by the beginning of fourth grade. Through a partnership involving the mayor’s office, a local non-profit organization, and the school district, volunteers tutor the highest need K-3 students in reading during the school day or an after school program.
National assessments of education progress show that a large majority of our nation’s children are failing to meet reading level proficiency by the beginning of fourth grade, especially in urban schools serving students from low-income families. Kindergarten through third grade is a crucial period for children because during these years, students develop reading skills that will become the cornerstone of their academic success.
As part of Third Grade Reads, the mayor’s office partners with a school district and a nonprofit organization focused on education or literacy to identify student needs and define the goals. The nonprofit or school partner oversees the curriculum and program structure for volunteer tutors – including expert advice and ongoing support – and tracks tutor and student attendance and hours, and the mayor’s office works with partners to track and report the impact of the initiative.
Executing The Plan
It is important that all program partners, including the city, nonprofit partner, and school district, have shared goals and open and consistent communication. Ongoing support and feedback for volunteer tutors is critical to program success and volunteer commitment and motivation. Family engagement is key as the most impactful results are seen when parents and guardians at home reinforce lessons their children have learned in school.
Tracking and reporting metrics are essential for the initiative to demonstrate impact and show its value to the community. Required metrics include pre- and post-reading scores of tutored students and their reading grade level, teacher feedback on student engagement and skills to capture incremental progress achieved between the pre- and post-reading score assessments (e.g., collected using a brief survey), and number of students tutored throughout the school year.