Experience Corps logoTeachers in Tempe, Arizona, as well as a number of other communities across the country, gave high marks to reading tutors who provide additional student support in the classroom, according to a recent survey by AARP Experience Corps.

In Tempe, teachers surveyed said that their students’ reading and literacy performance improved under the guidance of AARP Experience Corps tutors during the 2012-2013 school year. Though Experience Corps tutors focus on improving reading literacy, teachers identify added benefits of having older adult volunteers in the classroom.

“Teachers are not only finding that their students’ reading scores improve with help from our tutors but also their confidence level, in-classroom participation, behavior and attendance as well,” says Rebecca Bond, Director for AARP Experience Corp in Tempe. “With so many kids per classroom, teachers often don’t have enough time for one-on-one interactions. Our tutors are making a real difference with the time and attention they give to the children.”

Teachers surveyed said that 45 percent of AARP Experience Corp students improved in reading and literacy performance from the beginning of the school year to the end of the year. Forty-one percent of students that had been rated below-grade level by teachers at the beginning of the 2013 school year were reading on-grade level by the end of the year.

AARP Experience Corps works with school districts and principals to establish programs that fit seamlessly with existing curriculum and staff. Tutors commit to the school year, providing a consistent classroom presence for students and teachers. Experience Corps focuses on children in grades kindergarten through third, as this is where children learn to read. In fourth grade, children begin reading to learn. Many who cannot read at grade level fall quickly behind.
An Annie E. Casey Foundation Report Early Warning: Why Reading by the end of Third Grade Matters draws attention to the reality that children who are not reading proficiently by the end of the 3rd grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma, and are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as truancy and aggression.

The report cites National Assessment of Education Progress statistics that found some 68 percent of American children could not read at grade level by the end of third grade.

Experience Corps’ annual survey also showed a high level of satisfaction among tutors, not only in the work they do for students and teachers but also in the mental and physical improvements they see in themselves and in the social aspects the volunteer opportunity provides.

Experience Corps’ is currently recruiting volunteers who can help mentor kids in the Phoenix and Tempe areas. For more information about volunteering with Experience Corps’ please call (480) 858-2464.