Lots of education research confirms that children who read below grade level in the 3rd grade have a very hard time ever catching up. And if children can’t read well, they really struggle in school. If they don’t enjoy reading, they tend not to spend the time to learn to read better. Many even drop out of school early and rarely pursue post-secondary education. 

Even though Arlington is a highly educated community overall, we have lots of children in Arlington elementary schools whose reading skills fall behind. The impact may be most significant in families where there are few books at home, where the native language isn’t English, and where parents have little time to read with their children due to job schedules. COVID has obviously exacerbated this challenge.

In the spring of 2022, a few volunteers began a pilot program in partnership with Hoffman-Boston Elementary School.  That pilot was very successful and gave us an opportunity to fine tune the logistics. We’re now planning for the 2022-23 school year and expanding to Drew and Long Branch, in addition to continuing at Hoffman-Boston.

The minimum commitment is 45 minutes one day per week, between 4and 6 PM, simply reading with a student one on one and chatting about the book(s) (and anything else the child wants to discuss!).  There is a formal process for approving volunteers and a short online training class on Safe Schools. School staff provides books and coordinates the schedule for each volunteer.If you’d like more information or just want to sign up, please contact Dan Dixon (202-262-8338 or dandixon97@aol.com).