3rd Grade Reading Success Matters

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

National Volunteer Tutor Recognition

We know that volunteer reading tutors are crucial to our early literacy efforts, providing the extra hands and hearts to ensure more children from low-income families learn to read proficiently. For National Volunteer Week, April 12-18, we’re honoring tutors and tutoring organizations on our website and in social media. You can submit names on this online portal through April 18 and tweet using the #GLReading hashtag.

Please contact Adam Bradley at abradley@gradelevelreading.net with any questions or concerns about this page.


  • AARP Experience Corps Phoenix is a literacy tutoring program for grades 1-3. Sustained 1:1 tutoring is delivered by trained volunteers who are aged 50 and older, twice a week for a total of 60 minutes to each child. Results to date show a 43% improvement in reading fluency from the fall to the winter benchmarks for the students enrolled in the tutoring program at the ten participating schools.
  • AARP Experience Corps Tempe engages adult volunteers age 50+ to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring to kindergarten through 3rd grade students reading below grade level. In addition to strengthening academic skills, tutors work on motivating and encouraging students through the positive relationship they build together. Through this generational exchange, children succeed, 50+ adults thrive and communities are made stronger. In the past year, 84 volunteer tutors worked in 9 elementary schools and one after school site.


  • AR Kids Read  is a high-impact community service strategy which leverages the power of caring volunteers to help children attain reading level proficiency by the beginning of fourth grade. The organization provides volunteer reading tutors to 1st-3rd graders struggling with reading in 44 Central Arkansas schools.


  • Elizabeth Blue, Carol lee, Ann Swanson, Margaret Gonder-Odell, Claire Courtney and Nicole Whorton:  These incredible volunteers provide excellent one-on-one tutoring for students at Grover Cleveland Elementary in Pasadena. In addition to the 45 minute tutoring session, they spend extra time before and after preparing for their lessons and ensuring they give their students quality sessions.Maxine Balistreri (cropped)
  • Maxine Balistreri tutors in two classrooms at Moscone Elementary in San Francisco: first grade and Chinese kindergarten. She has a busy schedule, but takes time for the kids–and as you can see from her photo, she loves every minute of it.
  • Paul Shuling  is an incredible volunteer! In his 4+ years of tutoring for Reading Partners, he has yet to miss a single scheduled session. This year, he works with 6 different students, clocking in over 7 hours of hard work per week with Reading Partners–not to mention the fact that he’s an amazing tutor. Selby Lane Reading Partners wouldn’t be half of what it is without him.
  • Mary Gillis is a first-year Experience Corps Volunteer at Washington Elementary in Berkeley. She works one-on-one on literacy skills with 3rd and 5th grade students. She’s been a great support to the students she works with in boosting their reading confidence. Mary’s students have a lot of fun during their tutoring sessions, and so does she!Elliott Stewart
  • Elliott Stewart joined Experience Corps Bay Area in early February of this year. He has an intuitive knack for inspiring reluctant readers. One of the students he currently works with loves to draw but feels overwhelmed by reading because it is so difficult for him. Elliott found a way to combine the two tasks and the student has become much more excited about reading.
  • Learning Out Loud is a non-profit working to improve the quality of education for elementary school children in the historically underserved and low-income areas of Richmond, CA. Most recently, founder Cristal Branagan and the LOL Community have been addressing the low levels of student literacy at Verde Elementary School through the Literacy at Home Project.
  • Cindy Clark-Schnuelle, a Reading Partners volunteer, is very dedicated to the school community and has put in many hours of volunteer work in the classrooms and tutoring students. This is Reading Partners’ first year at Madison Elementary and Cindy was instrumental in making sure there were enough volunteers to get the program going and in getting book donations for the school.10991228_925375144163223_6687797124408687884_n
  • Spencer Larsen is in his 5th year volunteering with Experience Corps Bay Area. He devotedly gives 20 hours per week to 2nd graders in an Oakland public elementary school. He follows ten children’s pathways to reading, conducts fluency tests and even helps the music teacher with his beautiful violin skills. He is also the perfect role model to new volunteers as he takes them under his wing, providing guidance and support.
  • Jacqueline Thalberg, a volunteer with Learning Out Loud, is always seeking out new ways to help the organization or the students, and she is very interested in the students as individual people instead of just data and numbers. She was one of LOL’s first volunteers and has been consistent throughout!
  • The Read-Aloud Volunteer Program is a non-profit organization that readaloud volunteerrecruits and places adult volunteers to read one-on-one with children in Richmond and San Pablo elementary schools. They have a core collection of books at each school and provide a home library of books for each child. Over 70,000 books were given to families in the last 20 years.
  • Victoria Stewart, a Reading Partners volunteer, has always been so curious as to how she can best help the students, always taking their individuality into account. She is always asking questions of them and trying to get them to think a little deeper about language and reading.
  • Christina Perez has been helping the students at Verde Elementary since she knew about the effort. She donated eggs for Green Eggs and Ham day and she comes in on her lunch hour every week to help with reading tutoring. She is always the first to ask how she can help, and she is warm and friendly with the students. She is an excellent role model for the young ladies in the program.
  • AARP Experience Corps – Bay Area engages older adults 1(50+) as tutors and mentors in order to increase the literacy skills of children in grades K-3. They have been effective in bolstering educational practice in Bay Area schools and their volunteers have been indispensable to their success. Through this generational exchange, children succeed, older adults thrive, and communities are made stronger.

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  • With 15 years of serving as a reading tutor and mentor with AARP Experience Corps Bay Area, Naomi Baskin is a pro! She has developed her own model of stimulating and challenging students, reaching far beyond what the classroom teacher expects.


  • Kristina Verga has been working with her student since September. In the beginning her student was very unwilling to work and had a negative attitude about reading. After a few short months, she was able to build great rapport with her student and change her student’s negative attitude to a positive one. Now her student is taking home books every week and filling out book reports!
  • Reading and Beyond: Since 1999, non-profit community-based organization reading and beyondReading and Beyond has provided volunteer-based reading tutorials for children in Fresno County. This past year, Reading and Beyond trained and placed over 100 volunteer reading tutors at its community sites, as well as partner school sites.


  • Nicholas Jeffries, a Reading Partners volunteer, comes in and helps with grade-level tutoring on his days off, and before work every week. The first day he came to volunteer at Verde Elementary, he was early and so he helped another program with their work. He is kind and patient with the students, and is a welcome role model and mentor for the young men in the program.


  • A retired educator, Mildred Setzer brings her incredible talents to herMildred sarkady award 2013 work as an Experience Corps tutor at Highville Charter School in Hamden. For the past 6 years, Mrs. Setzer has tutored literacy with children in pre-K to grade 4. As she says, “It’s all about the kids.”
  • Maureen Eaton:  in addition to supporting students and families while in the public library, Mrs. Eaton volunteers each week to conduct book clubs with 3rd grade students. She often volunteers time to read with the After School Program and always reads to students on Read Across America Day. She is an amazing asset to the school and Forestville community and absolutely makes the school a better place to learn.Fran tutoring EC natl photo 1314
  • AARP Experience Corps – Greater New Haven: This year, 36 older adult volunteers are tutoring literacy with children in 9 sites in greater New Haven. Bringing a wealth of experience and compassion that only older adults can provide, each volunteer devotes 8+ hours each week to help young children who are struggling to read. Experience Corps volunteers make a real difference.



  • Jacquelyn Paulk  taught in Sarasota elementary schools for 38 years and upon retirement decided to invest her time and resources into helping community youth. Since 1997, she has worked tirelessly to bring tutoring programs to children living in Newtown. Jackie believes in these children and that makes all the difference. Together, Jackie and her team are moving the needle on grade level reading.
  • Delores Asselin:  During her primary career, Delores was a nurse and a homemaker. Delores is able to connect with every child she comes into contact with, with her kind and patient nature. Delores volunteers in 1st grade and with 3rd grade students in the Community Foundation of Sarasota’s VIP (Volunteers Improving Proficiency) room twice a week. She is available to assist the Reading Support Team preparing materials for students to read at home, or for teachers to use in their classrooms for individualized instruction. Delores is a kind-hearted person appreciated by students and staff alike.
  • Visible Men Academy Reading Ray Volunteers (Tally Harris, Michelle Read, Peggy Schafir, Jan Ludke, Kayon Ellis Parker, Tim Morris, Karen Marshall and Terra Layton):  All of the 40 wonderful volunteers in this program deserve recognition, but a special shout-out goes to the 8 dedicated VMA Reading Ray volunteers who combined commit 75 hours per month, every month of the school year to instill the love of reading with the VMA “Suns”. With their support, passion and commitment the Suns are thriving. Shine on!



  • A selfless volunteer, Ruthie Maass  has built an “army” of over 120 volunteer reading tutors who annually help 280 Emma E. Booker Elementary School students discover the love of reading and improve reading skills. Ensuring opportunities for the EEB students to develop literacy skills and for community members to make a positive difference, Ruthie inspires all involved.



  • Y-Reads!  is a free, volunteer-driven program which nourishes the minds of early elementary schoolchildren who need the most help and sets yreadsthem on a path for future learning. Outstanding volunteers include Marsha Bruner, Makenna Burns, Kailey Hanrahan, Kecia Dorsey, Trish Lauffer, Jessica Lippincott, Donna Vanderwal, Kristina Young and Gary Lauver.



  • The Eagles’ Nest Volunteer Center at Alta Vista Elementary School was created seven years ago to increase parent involvement and capitalize on community resources to support student learning. Each year, the Eagles’ Nest provides a specialized program for 250 at-risk students where community and parent volunteers provide individualized, eagles nestintensive instruction in reading and math. In seven years, the Eagles’ Nest has grown from 25-30 volunteers to over 150 volunteers who are parents, grandparents, corporate employees, business owners, church and YMCA members, community nonprofit organizations, and retired teachers, principals and superintendents. Students have increased performance on weekly test scores and grades, completed more classwork and homework, increased attendance, and have had a more positive attitude in school.

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  • The Seminole County Family Connection Reading Lab  provides reading tutoring to pre-K and kindergarten students at Seminole County Elementary School. Outstanding tutors include Kathy Reese, Cindy Meadows, Martha Register, Nicole Touchton, Gloria Fain, Debra Hiemstra and Ralna Pearson.


  • AARP Foundation Experience Corps – EC photoChicago is an evidence-based tutoring program made up of volunteers aged 50+ who are dedicated to helping children become great readers before they finish the third grade. Volunteers serve in 10 Chicago Public Schools, bringing the joy of literacy to hundreds of students each year.
  • The United Way of Lake County  launched the “Reading Success” program to ensure children in elementary school are able to read at grade level by the end of third grade. By offering reading tutors to 7 schools in Waukegan they have helped change the lives of children who need an extra boost to be successful. Tutors work with students that have been identified as needing extra one-on-one work to improve reading skills.




  • Tutors from the AARP Experience Corps Evansville  participated in a family literacy make-it take-it night working on reading and literacy skills with parents and students who attend the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation grades K-3. The children had a great time as did the parents and tutors!


  • Paws and Think, Inc. is a nonprofit whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for the community by using the power of the human-animal bond. Their target population is at-risk youth, pawsand they currently have Reading Education Assistance Dogs and their trained owner/handlers in 9 target segments including 2nd and 3rd grades and special needs elementary youth.




  • AmeriCorps Partners in Learning is a national service program that engages 30 AmeriCorps members who are trained by School District staff and placed among 13 elementary schools. The program focuses on improving reading levels in K-3 students. The goal is to have all K-3 students reading at grade-level by their Spring DIBELS assessment.


  • Dubuque Area Foster Grandparent Program: Foster Grandparents work one-to-one or in small groups with students in pre-K – 4th grade to improve their literacy skills. The program is also aFGP Christmas proud partner of the Dubuque Community’s Grade-Level Reading Campaign. Foster Grandparents work year-round for a minimum of 15 hours per week, providing a great value to the school systems.


  • Since 1974, the Foster Grandparent Program sponsored by the Rotary Club of Rock Valley Foundation has developed a network of community-Audrey Raman w kidswide seniors, 55 years and older with low to limited incomes, to serve children as tutors and mentors. These volunteers provide caring and supportive services to children, lend a listening ear and a caring heart, and support intergenerational relationships.


  • Norma Perry is a volunteer for Senior Corps. She volunteers 5 days a week, 7 hours a day with the second-graders at George Washington Carver Community School in Des Moines. She helps the students with learning and math skills as well as social skills, and is a great listener for the students to come to for physical, emotional and academic needs.23_The_whole_group - Copy
  • Raising Readers in Story County: For 7 years Rotary volunteers in Ames have dressed in costumes for their annual Step Into Storybooks event that inspires parents to be their children’s first tutors. Interactive stations feature children’s books and related activities for parents and caregivers to do at home. This year over 2,700 adults and children attended and Rotarians gave every child a book to take home.




  • AARP Experience Corps Baltimore engages older volunteers to tutorDBELL preK-3rd graders so students achieve reading proficiency. The classroom literacy assistance model places 313 tutors in classrooms where they work with 7079 students 1:1 or in small groups 10+ hours per week throughout the academic year. Data shows students working with Experience Corps achieve increased levels of academic success.


  • One City One Library (OCOL) was formed in 2013 to bring attention to literacy and to create more access to books for children. It has developed 3 new school-based libraries and 1 mobile library. In 2014 children and families took out an additional 101,591 books. Additionally, it has created community events and enlisted college students in this work.



  • Reading Partners empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by providing research-validated instruction to elementary school students reading below grade level. They engage community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring to students twice a week. Through the Reading Partners program, thousands of students in under-resourced schools have the opportunity to become strong, confident readers.



New York


 Laurie Black is recognized for all her efforts in support of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, especially her work coordinating Book Buddies, a volunteer reading program at Seymour Dual Language Academy in Syracuse, NY. On behalf of SYRACUSE 20/20, Laurie has been instrumental in mobilizing community volunteers to work one-on-one with first and second graders to improve reading outcomes.



North Carolina

  • Wake County Bar Association members support first and second grade wake countystudents at five schools in the Lawyers Read Program. Mentors meet once per week for 30 minutes to read a book with their students. Students take the book home to enhance their skills and develop a love of reading. Lawyers have spent a combined 180 hours with 71 students in the project’s first year and donated $3,000 for students’ personal libraries.



  • Regina Leonard volunteers through the non-profit ReadySetSoar to improve the regina leonardliteracy skills of children in Montgomery County, Ohio. She works at agency events focused on kindergarten readiness and grade-level reading, leads a volunteer committee, recruits additional volunteers and organizes classroom volunteer teams. Her dedicated commitment to children’s literacy skills is untiring.




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  • Tracie Lewis and Adam Paluka volunteer with Janashia through Reading Partners, helping her build literacy skills. One day, she transferred schools before she was even able to tell her tutors. Tracie and Adam found out, and followed her to her new school. Janashia was so surprised and excited to see them because she “hadn’t made new friends yet, and it was awesome to see her reading partners!”


  • PHILADELPHIA READS gathers about 1200 volunteers every year to mentor and tutor Philadelphia’s neediest children weekly. The Power Partner volunteers come from some of the largest businesses and law firms in the city who want to do good deeds. They are the city’s supermen and women. Children are bused to the companies for a “Power Hour” during the volunteer’s lunch.
  • AARP Experience Corps – Philadelphia harnesses the time and talent of caring, older adult volunteer tutors aged 50+ who are trained to help struggling K-3 students achieve131040 _AARP_Experience_Corps Philadelphia the reading proficiency they need for long-term academic success. In the past 20 years, 4,450 senior volnteers have donated 1.6 million hours tutoring over 50,000 academically vulnerable children in schools across Philadelphia. Volunteers range in age from 50 to 87. Most tutor 12 to 15 hours per week all school year.


Rhode Island

  • Inspiring Minds is a 50-year-old educational non-profit whose missionBank of America 3-21 014 is to create successful students by providing them with academic and social supports. Their literacy and math tutors are in 22 schools across the city and service around 2,000 students every year!


  • Micah Initiative is a Richmond-area faith-based partnership with elementary schools that encourages mentoring and tutoring. There are 130 faith communities and 23 schools currently involved.
  • Mentoring and Reading Student to Student (MARSS) partners a high-school student with a first-grader for reading mentoring to improve skills and develop a love of reading.
  • Sharon Mullins, a volunteer with the Mountain Empire Older2WPS2014 Citizens Foster Grandparent Program, volunteers at Wise Primary School in Wise, VA, working with children in the classroom under the supervision of their teacher.




  • Marsha Sutton was one of Reading Partners’ very first tutors, and they say they are “so lucky to have recruited her.” She is compassionate, dedicated and enthusiastic. Her student has grown tremendously from working with her. Marsha is an exceptional tutor and Reading Partners appreciates her continued support!
  • Danielle Caldwell is a star tutor! She is reliable, passionate and committed. In addition to tutoring regularly, she jumps at the chance to volunteer on as many extra days as she can. Her dedication is truly helping students become lifelong learners. Reading Partners is so grateful for Danielle!
  • Steven Nguyen was Reading Partners Seattle’s very first tutor. Since that time, he has proven himself to passionate, dedicated and extremely reliable. He is in the library sciences and has expressed a desire to become a children’s librarian. Reading Partners knows that with Steven’s drive and skill, he will become an excellent librarian one day and help more students improve their reading skills!
  • Laura White, a retired teacher, is an exemplary volunteer tutor with Reading Partners Seattle. She is responsible, punctual and creative, and she utilizes the Reading Partners curriculum in an engaging and highly effective manner. She works with two students and has absolutely changed their experiences with reading and learning.


Washington, D.C.

  • For Love of Children (FLOC) provides educational services beyond the classroom to help students succeed from 1st grade through college and career. The Neighborhood Tutoring Program helps 1st-12th grade students achieve grade-level competency in reading and math through one-on-one volunteer attention; a structured, step-by-step curriculum; and fun, engaging activities to build academic skills and confidence.
  • AARP Experience Corps – DC Metro Branch: A program of the AARP Foundation, the DC Metro Branch of Experience Corps has more than 105 volunteers serving as volunteer literacy tutors and mentors in 12 elementary schools throughout the DC area. Working under the direction of classroom teachers, tutors work with students in small groups and one-on-one using prescribed literacy interventions and reading strategies to help students grow to love AARP Experience Corps DC Metro Branch_Tutor, Robert Rouselearning and to achieve grade-level proficiency.