The Ginsberg Center’s mission is to engage students, faculty, and community members in learning together through community service and civic participation in a diverse and democratic society. One of several programs housed at Ginsberg Center, the America Reads Tutoring Corps has been committed to meeting the challenge to have all children reading well and independently by the end of third grade since 1997. Tutoring, as a supplement to classroom teaching, is a powerful form of instruction for increasing underachieving students’ reading abilities. One former America Reads tutor said about her experience, “A lot of the kids don’t get the educational experiences that the parents are supposed to provide at home. They basically have to figure things out by themselves. I feel very connected to them.” The one-to-one relationship that is built between tutor and tutee is an incredibly significant part of the program, as well. “America Reads wouldn’t be what it is without the dedication, enthusiasm and passion of the tutors,” said Kristi Fenrich, program director. “It’s building that relationship with the child that is steady and consistent throughout the entire year. It’s something that the kid can rely on and look forward to every week.”
The UM America Reads Tutoring Corps is currently working with six elementary schools on the west side of Detroit and three elementary schools in the Ypsilanti area: Carver, Dixon, MacDowell, Maybury, Roberto Clemente, and Rutherford Elementary schools are in Detroit and Estabrook, the Elementary Learning Center, and the Primary Learning Center are in Ypsilanti. Unlike other tutoring programs that work with children after school, America Reads is a pull-out program in which tutors are assigned three tutees to work with over the course of a single academic year. Each tutor works with each tutee on a one-on-one basis, allowing them to build an intimate relationship with the child as well as target the unique literacy areas where he/she needs help. At the end of the 2010-2011 academic year, 95% of the children who participated in America Reads for the entire year were achieving in at least one out of five key literacy areas, and 54% were achieving in four or more key areas. During 2011 – 2012, a total of 110 UM students are being trained as literacy tutors and sent out to these schools; during this time, over 300 K – 3rd grade students who struggle with reading and writing and will receive a help from an America Reads tutor to get them on grade level in reading and writing.
For more information about the America Reads Tutoring Corp, visit the Ginsberg Center website.