By third grade, more than half of DC students have fallen behind in reading. This shortfall has serious, long-term implications because reading ability is a strong predictor of high school completion, college success, and stable employment. So Reach takes a novel approach. It recruits as tutors teens who have experienced significant academic challenges themselves. Professional instructors guide them in preparing lesson plans with a focus on decoding and comprehension skills, and Reach entrusts them with tutoring elementary students in need. Tutors gain 120 hours of teaching experience; approximately 90% graduate from high school; their young charges receive 60 extra hours of reading instruction. The results? Both groups experience significant growth: 1.5 years for tutees and two years for their tutors. For the teens who learn by teaching and for the children who benefit, it’s a win-win.
Headquarters: DC-Ward 6
Where They Operate: DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 8
Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17)
Population(s) Served: Students
Schools They Work In: High Schools:; Anacostia Senior High School (Anacostia); Ballou Senior High School (Congress Heights); Dunbar Senior High School (Shaw); Eastern Senior High School (Hill East); EL Haynes Public Charter School (Petworth); HD Woodson (Capitol Heights); Thurgood Marshall Academy PCS (Anacostia); Elementary Schools:; Drew Elementary School (Capitol Heights); EL Haynes Public Charter School (Petworth); Ketcham Elementary School (Anacostia); King Elementary School (Congress Heights); Orr Elementary School (Anacostia); Payne Elementary School (Hill East); Savoy Elementary School (Anacostia); Simon Elementary School (Congress Heights); Walker Jones Education Campus (Shaw); In addition to our school-based sites, we operate a site serving both teen tutors and elementary school students at Beacon House, a community center in Edgewood Terrace (Ward 5).
- Hours of tutoring, mentoring, or class-time provided annually:
Reach provides 120 hours of additional support to high school tutors and 60 additional hours of support to their elementary school students.
- Reading Growth:
Elementary school students have experienced 1.5 grade levels of reading growth, while their teen tutors historically average more than 2 grade levels of growth.
- Graduation Rate:
Though roughly 70% of DC public school students graduate from high school on time, almost 90% of our tutors have graduated on time, despite the fact that we recruit struggling students at the city's lowest performing schools.
- Number of people (clients, patrons, students, etc) served annually:
This year, Reach will serve over 450 participants at nine program sites.
- Number of books (textbooks, school supplies) distributed/donated annually:
Through our book grants, we give away 2,500 books, authored by our teens, to schools and organizations each year.
Awards & Recognition
2011, Echoing Green Fellow
2011, Fair Chance Partner
2013, Lehrman Impact Award Winner
2015, National Book Foundation Innovation in Reading Prize
2016, Aspen Institute Urban Innovation Fellowship
2017, Exemplary Project, Goldin Foundation for Excellence in Education
- Mark Hecker pairs pupils and student tutors Â– with dramatic gains for both
Sat Jun 24 2017, Christian Science Monitor
At Reach, tutors are only about 6-8 years older Â– high school students who themselves have been struggling academically or socially.
- A Reach Beyond Imagination
Mon Mar 6 2017, Duke Magazine
2003 alumnus Mark Hecker's idea to take on youth literacy led to a nonprofit that's boosting students, academically and personally.
- Innovative D.C. literacy program wins cash and kudos
Wed May 6 2015, The Washington Post
An innovative literacy program in Washington called Reach Incorporated won major recognition - and major cash - this week.
- Students at DC nonprofit teach kids to read
Thu Aug 21 2014, WTOP
A short radio piece on Kyare and Za'Metria, two of Reach's tutors working to promote reading in DC elementary schools.
- One struggling reader plus another may equal a boost in reading skills for both
Tue Aug 12 2014, Greater Greater Education
A DC nonprofit called Reach Incorporated hires struggling high school readers to tutor struggling elementary school readers.
- $3 million or higher
- The current budget for Reach Incorporated is: $1 million to $3 million
- $500k to $1 million
- Less than $500k
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