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Tutors needed: DeKalb County Schools needs help with its elementary reading program

Students in five select DeKalb County Schools will receive the extra reading support.

ATLANTA — The DeKalb County School District has re-launched its tutor program to improve students' reading skills at select schools and it needs volunteers. 

The county, alongside partners of the Experience Core Reading Program, looks to recruit 100 tutors to help students in kindergarten through third grade considered at risk in their reading abilities. 

"Those were the ones that were performing below benchmark standards in their particular reading level," said James Hearn, coordinator of the after-school extended day program at the district. 

Students in five select DeKalb County Schools will receive the extra reading support starting in September, James Hearn at DCSD said.  

The program was first introduced by the school district in 2019; the program will return and operate in full force at select schools. Due to the pandemic, three out of the five schools halted the program temporarily.  

School officials reinstated the program after the pandemic after receiving positive feedback.  

"The reading results given are phenomenal," Hearn said. "So we've been pleased to bring it back and look forward to having the program run again this particular school year." 

The five schools where the program takes place were selected based on students' reading skills. Through the program, DeKalb's youngest minds will gain reading experience while working with older community members, Hearn added. 

Interested volunteers must be over 50 years of age and have a High School diploma or GED, according to the AARP Foundation Experience Corps. 

The American Association of Retired Persons, commonly known as AARP, is America's leading organization for people ages 50 and older, providing member benefits, marketing services and lobbying on their behalf. 

According to the Atlanta nonprofit, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, the program seeks volunteers who would love to work with young children to strengthen literacy skills. 

"The rapport built between the students and the senior citizen volunteers is absolutely amazing," Hearn said.

The program is in the middle of selecting tutors and determining what days throughout the school year volunteers will help students. 

"It's critical to get an opportunity to help those kids develop their understanding, fluency in reading and comprehension skills," Hearn said. 

Those interested in becoming a volunteer tutor can apply here.

September is National Literacy Month, and this year, 11Alive is partnering with the local nonprofit Children Read, to get more books into young students' hands. 

Join us in supporting metro Atlanta's youngest students by donating to our 11Alive book drive!


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