September 12, 2018

Online Volunteers Help Local First-Graders Learn to Read

A phone, a computer, and 30 minutes per week. That's all is takes to help a local Grand Rapids first-grader learn to read. And Innovations for Learning's TutorMate program is doing just that.

A phone, a computer, and 30 minutes per week. That's all is takes to help a local Grand Rapids first-grader learn to read. And Innovations for Learning's TutorMate program is doing just that.

Since 1993, Innovations for Learning, a 501c3 nonprofit based in Evanston, IL, uses technology to connect the classroom and the community to reduce inequality in education. Through TutorMate, their online volunteer program, students from under-resourced schools are paired with local corporate and community volunteers for weekly, online reading sessions. These partnerships foster student reading growth, comprehension, and communication skills. Rachel Wellman, 1st grade teacher at Kent Hills Elementary adds "I enjoy watching my students light up when the phone rings and their tutor is on the other line. I have seen great progress in the students that have worked with tutors. The extra academic support for this age is very needed."

These local student need extra reading practice and a caring adult! TutorMate is currently looking to expand their program in Grand Rapids and bring more tutors into the fold. Thanks to the generosity of Amway and Steelcase, there are 50 community tutoring spots available. Interested companies and community members should contact Becca Walsh-Wolfe (becca@innovationsforlearning.org) by September 30th to sign up.