It’s National Tutoring Week, a time to celebrate the volunteers and professionals who work one-on-one with struggling students. Although formal recognition of this important work is always appreciated, tutors will tell you that their greatest reward is seeing a student’s progress.
“This was my fourth year tutoring, and the hour goes so quickly,” reports a volunteer for Ready.Set.READ!, a literacy initiative in Reading, PA. “My students have always been friendly and engaged, and lots of fun. By the end of the year, they have vastly improved over the day that we started. I would highly recommend tutoring … whatever I have given, I get back tenfold!”
Ready.Set.READ! (RSR) aims to ensure that 90% of all third graders in Berks County, Pennsylvania will be proficient readers by 2023. Created and managed by United Way of Berks County, RSR engages businesses, schools, nonprofits, libraries, faith communities and hundreds of individuals to support early grade reading. Star Readers, a key RSR program, engages nearly 400 volunteers, many from companies which encourage them to volunteer during the work day. Volunteers provide weekly tutoring sessions to 500 struggling first through third graders in 29 elementary schools in 12 school districts throughout the county. United Way of Berks County recruits and trains new and returning volunteers in person and via online videos; ensures their background checks are up to date; serves as liaison with each school; and more.
Students show improvement in reading scores and teachers report that tutored students have better attitudes towards reading and learning. Children feel like they have their own personal cheerleader and benefit from the one-on-one attention.
And surveys confirm that the tutors get as much out of their efforts as the students. One volunteer wrote, “I leave a business work environment to go tutor and come back to work with a smile on my face. I get far more out of the program than I could ever give back.”
That’s quite a return on investment. No matter where you live, your local United Way will be happy to connect you to tutoring and other volunteer experiences where you too, can receive much more than you give.