Reading Partners LA: The Path to Fourth Grade Reading Proficiency for 1,000 Children

submission by cgugol.rp

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Reading Partners

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


We connect local volunteers to under-resourced elementary schools to provide one-on-one tutoring to K-4th graders reading below grade-level; through tangible skill development, students make measurable improvements toward reading proficiency.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


Reading Partners plans to expand our core program in LA County and deepen local impact on fourth grade literacy achievement. In 2015-16, we have already expanded from eight to ten school partners, reaching at least 575 students with the support of 850 volunteers. By 2017, we intend to partner with an additional four to six new school sites, doubling our reach from 500 to 1,000 children in Los Angeles area Title I schools.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County:

Our current ten school partners are located in Pasadena, Mid-City LA, Santa Monica, and Lawndale. We are currently reaching out to new prospective partners where we hope to identify an additional four to six schools to collaborate with by 2016-17.

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics? (check all that apply)

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.


Celebrating seven years in LA, Reading Partners looks forward to continuing to empower local communities to invest in the education of our youth by extending our proven early literacy intervention program to substantially more students throughout the county. We envision that all children will have the necessary literacy skills they need by fourth grade to achieve their fullest potential by leveraging the capacity of communities to close the achievement gap for struggling readers. To move toward this goal, we have two primary objectives:

1. We will serve a much larger proportion of children in our current service areas. This school year, we have already increased participant density by expanding from eight to ten schools and serving 575 youth—a 25% increase in school partnerships from 2014-15.

2. We will begin a strategic, major expansion of services set over the next two years. This will include identifying a new community where we will serve an additional four to six schools and 250-360 students, doubling our reach from 500 to 1,000 children by 2017.

To ensure LA is the best place to learn, Reading Partners will continue to mobilize local schools, districts, and communities to catalyze change and become advocates for educational opportunities in their neighborhoods. We intentionally partner with Title I schools with a high percentage of low-income students where tailored intervention resources are in short supply despite students’ high needs. With a structured, research-based curriculum that requires no prior experience, we transform any volunteer into a high-quality instructor, enabling us to reach hundreds more children and increase the capacity of public schools. Our efforts also focus on young K-4 students early in their school careers to maximize the amount of instruction they receive before their achievement gap widens, ensuring that as many students possible are reaching proficiency by fourth grade.

With 49% of low-income fourth graders reading below grade-level in LA County, thousands of children are at-risk of losing out on a more prosperous future that a strong education enables, and strong reading skills are especially important for children growing up in low-income communities where academic success is a critical pathway out of poverty. We are proud of our innovative and proven program model that harnesses the power of community service to provide an effective, affordable, and community-driven solution to the literacy crisis.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


Data collection and analysis is a core feature of Reading Partners’ program. To thoroughly evaluate students’ skills, we gather three sources of data. First, we collect results from research-based, elementary literacy assessment tools–STAR Early Literacy and STAR Early Reading. Both assessments provide growth targets for students that correspond to grade-level benchmarks. Our programmatic targets are also based on students’ reaching benchmarks tied to grade-level expectations. Second, we collect state standardized test scores and school-based evaluations to give us a more comprehensive picture of how students are doing relative to state English Language Arts standards. Finally, we gather impact data on improvements in students’ reading, self-confidence, and classroom participation through twice-annual teacher, principal, and tutor surveys. Together, these assessments enable us to benchmark students’ reading at enrollment, progress monitor and course-correct, and record overall growth.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

11 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

This program helps children where English is not the spoken language at home. Helps children begin to enjoy reading because its builds up their confidence.

by 123csmall
5 months ago

As a volunteer, I know that $100,000 could do so much for our kids through Reading Partners! Thanks to GOOD for the opportunity to support LA! Go Reading Partners!

6 months ago

Reading Partners is the best of LA for our student in greatest need of 1:1 attention and support - struggling young readers. After 4th great you'e not learning to read, you're reading to learn. And if you're not, the prospects for success are bleak. So proud to support Reading Partners with my vote and time. So proud of the students and thousands of local volunteers.

Let's help all our young student learn to read. Let's not wait until 2050 to reverse these trends!

6 months ago

I just started working with Reading Partners. I am extremely impressed at how well the lesson plans are structured for the children and volunteers. I feel confident that my student will achieve reading skills and that I will get a great sense of satisfaction for being able to "give back." Reading is the core to further learning and the way to a better future for all.

by Nancy30
6 months ago

I have just started with the program as I recently retired. I am extremely impressed at how well the time spent with children has been structured. I am confident that my time will show positive results for my student and that I will have a true sense of "giving back". As someone who has a large family and has worked in higher education, I know how important reading skills are to help children achieve their future goals.

by Nancy30
6 months ago

I love Reading Partners! I've just started tutoring and my student and I are already great friends and have made goals for the year! This program is going to change the lives of many students. I'm looking forward to the future with these students and fellow Americorps members!

by RPForever_hove
6 months ago

I came to Reading Partners as an interested community member. I'm now a weekly tutor and can see how impactful the one-on-one attention can be when working with these students. Reading Partners even makes the other children want to learn - one teacher said her other students are asking when they can attend. Expanding the program is only possible with support and expanding the program can only be beneficial to the LA community.

by jenniiag
6 months ago

I've been volunteering and working with Reading Partners for approximately 3 years now. Students only get about 20 minutes per week of face time with their teachers. Reading Partners provides an opportunity for students to get one-on-one time with a dedicated and trained volunteer, where they learn material at their independent reading level. This potential $100k will help Reading Partners get into more schools, and ultimately serve more students! With this funding, we can provide students the books and materials needed to have a successful reading/tutoring session.

by rcheng90
6 months ago

I began tutoring for Reading Partners last spring as a substitute tutor. This Fall 2015, I am tutoring again and I was assigned a first grade student. My background is in Adult Education and Higher Education Publishing. So, working as a Reading Partners tutor is my first experience in the K-12 teaching and learning environment. I think this program is exceptional. Lessons are well structured and individualized and it is clear that the pedagogy is research based. The staff is very professional, extremely supportive of the volunteer tutors and ample training and ongoing feedback is provided to the volunteers by the Reading Partners staff.


by JanetWagner
6 months ago

I am a retired teacher & elementary principal. This is my fourth year as a tutor in the Reading Partners program. Instruction is provided with individual students so that each student's instructional needs can be met. The sequenced reading program is research based and well structured. Volunteers who have no background in reading instruction are able to use this program effectively to help a child gain in skills and confidence. The program directors are highly effective in recruiting volunteers, providing training, and assuring that high quality reading intervention is provided for each child. The program has been recognized as "Highly Effective" by the federal government based on independent research.
Margaret G

6 months ago

I've just started tutoring with the program, but as a long-time volunteer, I'm so impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the depth of service they provide to each student.

by CamilleHD
6 months ago

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Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015