New initiative, Tutor Charlotte, provides high quality, one-on-one tutoring across Charlotte

United Way of Central Carolinas and Read Charlotte launch expanded effort to boost reading proficiencies of at-risk students in K-3 grades

Kindergarten students at Billingsville Elementary Leadership Academy do “active reading” Tuesday with volunteer tutors from Bank of America. (Photo by Daniel Coston)

On Tuesday, United Way of Central Carolinas and Read Charlotte launched Tutor Charlotte, an initiative that provides high quality, one-on-one tutoring for at-risk students across Charlotte.

“There are about 20,000 K-3 students in the 58 lowest-performing CMS elementary schools who need additional reading and math support,” Munro Richardson, Read Charlotte Executive Director, said in a statement.  “Together, this community can help fill that gap and give these students a strong opportunity to succeed.”

Kindergarten students at Billingsville Elementary Leadership Academy do “active reading” Tuesday with volunteer tutors from Bank of America. (Photo by Daniel Coston)

Reading proficiency is a critical predictor of future success; 96% of students will graduate on time if reading proficiently by third grade. However, recent studies show only 39 percent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s third-graders are reading at grade level. For the African American community, the percentage is even lower: only 19 percent of black boys and only 30 percent of black girls are reading at grade level.

“Providing early access to a quality education is core to United Way’s mission,” Sean Garrett, Executive Director of United Way of Central Carolinas, said in a statement. “Read Charlotte is the ideal partner in this initiative. Their goal to increase third-grade reading proficiency to 80 percent by 2025 will help drive economic mobility for future generations.”

How to get involved

Phase one of Tutor Charlotte includes working with companies and other organizations to adopt kindergarten or first-grade classrooms. Volunteers work one-on-one with students for 30 minutes each week to help them learn critical reading skills.

Tutor Charlotte started in two classrooms in 2017 with support from lead partner Bank of America. The program quickly expanded to include 12 classes at six CMS schools; more than 200 students are now paired with volunteers for ongoing one-on-one reading.

Currently, eight organizations, including Bank of America, Duke Energy, Atrium Health, Ingersoll Rand, West Charlotte Coalition, Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Forest Hill Church, and Carolina Women’s Club have adopted classrooms. The City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and Meck South Rotary also have volunteers in classrooms.

Kindergarten students at Billingsville Elementary Leadership Academy do “active reading” Tuesday with volunteer tutors from Bank of America. (Photo by Daniel Coston)

For more information or to get involved as a partner, tutor or sponsor, visit tutorcharlotte.org.

For more ways to help double reading proficiency in Charlotte by 2025, join Read Charlotte’s “Commit To 80” campaign.

RELATED: ‘Commit to 80’ campaign seeks ‘army’ of dedicated Charlotteans to double kids’ reading proficiency

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