Only 15% of DC’s fourth graders from low-income families read proficiently in 2015, placing DC among the worst-performing cities in the country. But Reading Partners is dedicated to reversing the trend, providing its transformational literacy program at 19 Title I elementary schools across the District, reaching 925 young readers yearly. At each school, it creates a welcoming reading center stocked with books, and trains 40-100 community volunteers to provide one-on-one instruction following a research-based curriculum and with on-site support from a trained AmeriCorps member. Each young student has an Individualized Reading Plan, and regular assessments monitor and measure their progress – revealing impressive results. Last year, 94% of K-2 students mastered the foundational skills needed to read at grade level; and on average, third and fourth graders doubled their rate of learning. Your support opens books, and worlds, for so many.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 5

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8

Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11)

Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Students

Schools They Work In: Achievement Prep Public Charter School; Aiton Elementary School; Bancroft Elementary School; Beers Elementary School; Brightwood Education Campus; City Arts + Prep ; Drew Elementary School; HD Cooke Elementary School; Height Elementary School; Kimball Elementary School; Malcolm X Elementary School; Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School; Nalle Elementary School; Patterson Elementary School; Payne Elementary School; Plummer Elementary School; Seaton Elementary School; Wheatley Education Campus; Whittier Education Campus

  • Number of people (clients, patrons, students, etc) we serve annually:   925 students in 2017-18
  • Number of volunteers who work with us annually:   1,100 volunteers in 2017-18
  • % of students who met or exceeded their end-of-year literacy growth goals in 2016-17:   90
  • % of teachers who report Reading Partners is valuable to their school:   97
  • % of volunteers who were satisfied with their experience in 2016-17:   97

Awards & Recognition

A randomized control trial conducted by MDRC, an independent policy research firm, found Reading Partners to have positive and statistically significant impacts on reading proficiency. The research has been accepted and highlighted by the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC).

Reading Partners is a priority partner of the Empowering Males of Color initiative, DC Public Schools' effort to prepare males of color for college, careers, and beyond.


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Budget (FY2016)

  • The current budget for Reading Partners is: $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

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