Literacy initiative seeks 5,000 volunteers to build students’ reading skills

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If you knew without a doubt that you could help improve one child’s ability to read, would you think it worthwhile to give an hour a week to that child? Dallas ISD is betting you would. The district’s Office of Volunteer and Partnership Services wants to recruit you and at least 4,999 other volunteers to provide support for struggling readers in Dallas ISD elementary schools.

To pledge your support or request more information, complete the brief Literacy Tutor Pledge/Interest Form here . All respondents who complete the interest form will receive an email with further instructions on how to get started.

Research shows that one-to-one tutoring is one of the most effective ways of improving students’ reading skills. This is especially true for students in the early grades and those considered at risk for school failure.

Superintendent Mike Miles said community members who join this initiative will provide vital support to students. “Our students face many challenges on their path to a successful future, but with the right support they can overcome them all,” he said. “One-on-one tutoring is one of the most effective ways to give our students the individualized attention they need to grow. Working together, tutors, families and schools can help every student achieve.”

Thousands of volunteers currently support Dallas schools, however many choose to donate goods and services, mentor, or assist with field trips or classroom needs. The tutor initiative is looking for those who specifically want to serve as literacy tutors. This is assistance that many Dallas ISD educators welcome. In fact, in a May 2014 survey, 61 percent of teachers and staff surveyed selected tutoring as a priority volunteer activity for their campus. Among elementary teachers, 75 percent indicated literacy as the highest-need subject.

A number of organizations are already involved in tutoring, and enthusiastically invite others to join them. These include groups such as Church of the Incarnation, which has committed 36 volunteers to tutor at J.W. Ray Learning Center; and architects Corgan and Associates, which has 25 volunteers serving at Charles Rice Learning Center. More than 60 volunteers from the nonprofit Senior Source work with elementary students across the district, and 42 students from The Hockaday School make weekly visits to tutor students at William Cabell, Tom Gooch and Everette Degolyer elementary schools.

Most important, there’s still plenty of room for you.

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