Phoenix Residents Responding to Literacy Crisis

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Aug. 11, 2014 It’s back to school time for children and also for some Phoenix adults, who are donating their time to make a significant impact on early literacy. The city of Phoenix, in partnership with AARP Experience Corps and Experience Matters, is launching a tutoring program designed to improve literacy skills for Phoenix elementary school students and is seeking volunteers. AARP Experience Corps is an award winning program that serves children in kindergarten through the third grade. The program taps into the experience and passion of older Americans to ensure that every child has a chance to succeed in school and in life. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 28 percent of Arizona fourth grade students were reading proficiently in 2013. The AARP Experience Corps program utilizes highly trained volunteer tutors 50 and older to help children become proficient readers by the time they finish third grade. The students who receive one-to-one coaching with AARP Experience Corps tutors have shown 60 percent greater gains in critical literacy skills. Teachers report that the tutors make a positive impact on attendance, reducing disruptive behavior, and increase participation. Volunteers become tutors because they enjoy helping kids become better readers. Mayor Greg Stanton was instrumental in securing the program for Phoenix schools as part of Read On Phoenix, his program to get local students reading at grade level by the third grade. Phoenix is one of many cities that are committed to improving early literacy in their schools. Read On Phoenix is part of the statewide effort of Read On Arizona, a partnership of agencies, philanthropic organizations and community stakeholders committed to creating an effective range of services to improve language and literacy skills for Arizona’s children. During the 2014-15 school year, AARP Experience Corps will work with five Phoenix elementary school districts: Wilson, Fowler, Tolleson, Phoenix Elementary, and Riverside. Volunteers 50 and older are currently being recruited. To learn more about volunteering with the city of Phoenix AARP Experience Corps program, residents are encouraged to attend one of the following information sessions: 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, 20 and 27; Sept. 3, Experience Matters, 360 E. Coronado Road, Suite 170, Phoenix, AZ 85004]]]]> ]]>