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Reading Partners going virtual to tutor Lowcountry children

Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 10:23 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The non-profit Reading Partners is planning to roll out a new, virtual tutoring program this year for students in Charleston and Berkeley counties.

Volunteers typically help hundreds of kids each year who are reading behind their grade level.

“It is estimated that students will lose an average of seven months of learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the group said in a release. “Pandemic related school closures and interruptions to learning, however, disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families, in which case the average anticipated learning loss increases to 10-12 months.”

This is the first time the organization has offered this kind of virtual tutoring in South Carolina.

“We know that the school districts that we’re working with all have very different models and even depending on which school you’re in and how much social distancing can happen at the schools,” Senior Executive Director Kecia Greenho said. “Each school may be different and require different things.”

The program, Reading Partners Connects, will still pair up volunteers and students. The volunteers can use tutoring centers the organization has set up at community centers and churches or they can tutor from home.

The students can participate at school or at home, depending on their situation. Tutors will still be able to work through the Reading Partners curriculum with the support of lesson plans, teaching resources, ebooks, and training as well as with ongoing coaching and staff support.

“That’s our main core program that we’ve been working on innovating and getting that ready for schools because we do know that students are slipping further and further behind,” Greenho said. “Especially the students that we work with who are already behind, so we know they need this intervention. It’s just trying to figure out how to get it to them.”

A small cohort of AmeriCorps members were able to pilot the program this summer. In a partnership with the City of Charleston, 20 volunteers worked with 18 students at the annual summer program at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center.

“We got to pilot it and see what works and get all the kinks out before we roll this out to our students in the fall,” Greenho added.

They are currently looking for volunteers and there will be a virtual information session Aug. 20 at 3 p.m.

You can read more about both by clicking: here.

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