READ USA delivers programs for literacy, jobs

READ USA delivers programs for literacy, jobs
Bryan Gamble, Mr. Kellie Landen, Nahume Mosby, Haley Holloway and Dr. Rob Kelly

An electric atmosphere of excitement and energy abounded at the Jessie Ball duPont Center in mid-June as 60 teens received training for a unique and meaningful summer job.  For the READ USA Summer Reading Program 2021, teens received a week of intensive professional development training, using high-quality literacy curriculum, on how to teach and assess phonics and reading comprehension with elementary school children in a one-to-one setting. 

The READ USA Summer Reading Program of peer-to-peer tutoring pairs the 60 teens from the Mayor’s Youth at Work Program with 165 elementary students at three Title 1 Duval County schools – Cedar Hill, Hyde Park and Sadie T. Tillis Elementary. 

As of Monday, June 21, through Community in Schools, Team Up and the I’m a Star Foundation, elementary students at the three schools who are experiencing difficulty with reading will be matched with teen tutors five days a week for five weeks.

READ USA staff, led by Dr. Robert Kelly, provided 25 hours of training to the teens, with curriculum that incorporated high-interest books and multisensory word study materials.  Each teen tutor was assessed on two measures of literacy exposure and one measure of reading proficiency.  At the beginning and end of the program, the tutors will assess all elementary students using pre and post measures of reading accuracy, phonics skills, and reading proficiency.

Job coaches from Goodwill, the organization managing the Mayor’s Youth, will support the tutors with professional skills, scheduling transportation, and supervising time clock and payroll details. Based on data from prior programming provided by READ USA, it is expected that substantial reading gains will be achieved by both the elementary students and their tutors.   

“This model of peer-to-peer tutoring, pairing high schoolers and elementary children from low-income communities, is unique in two ways: the number of hours of tutor training and the quality of literacy curriculum. These two components are key to the success of this model,” said Dr. Kelly, noting that “READ USA has combined these powerful practices with high-quality books and multisensory materials to boost the literacy progress of both elementary children and their tutors. That’s the beauty of this program.”

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