Founded in 1999, Reading Partners (RP) has developed an innovative, cost-effective approach to addressing the problem of low literacy skills. RP helps children become proficient readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results. RP operates in over 60 schools across the country, where supervised volunteers provide one-on-one literacy tutoring to struggling readers in K-5. Internal data collection and analysis has shown that students participating in Reading Partners improve their reading skills at a significantly faster rate than peer control students. This external evaluation, which is in part funded by a Social Innovation Fund grant distributed by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, will help better understand the effect of Reading Partners on participating students as well as provide important information on the implementation of Reading Partners in the school environment.
The main impact research questions that we hope to answer are:
1. What impact does Reading Partners have on the reading ability of students who participate, as compared to students who do not?
2. What impact does Reading Partners have on the learning behaviors (classroom attentiveness, assignment completion) of students who participate, as compared to students who do not?
We are also planning to conduct implementation research of the Reading Partners program that will explore how Reading Partners is implemented in schools, how it fits in with other literacy programming into the larger school environment, and how it has addressed challenges with implementation.