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Study finds students with Experience Corps tutors make 60 percent more progress in critical reading skills
Date:4/8/2009

Tutoring children in and after school isn't new, but how much does it really help in critical areas like reading? Rigorous new research from Washington University in St. Louis shows significant gains from a national service program that trains experienced Americans to help low-income children one-on-one in urban public schools.

The central finding: Over a single school year, students with Experience Corps tutors made over 60 percent more progress in learning two critical reading skills sounding out new words and reading comprehension than similar students not served by the program.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis conducted a randomized, control-group study of Experience Corps, a national program that engages Americans over 55 in helping struggling students learn to read, to assess its effectiveness. The two-year, $2 million study, funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, is one of the largest of its kind, involving more than 800 first, second and third graders (half with Experience Corps tutors, half without) at 23 elementary schools in three cities.

"The difference in reading ability between kids who worked with Experience Corps tutors and those who did not is substantial and statistically significant," said Nancy Morrow-Howell, the lead researcher and a professor at the George Warren Brown School at Washington University.

"This research shows that Experience Corps tutors can increase student reading skills," said Jean Grossman, an expert in youth mentoring programs and evaluation design at Princeton University and Public / Private Ventures. "That's great news for parents, children, educators and the many people of all ages who want to respond to President Obama's call to service and want to know that their efforts will make a significant difference."

Other key findings from the Washington University research:

  • Experience Corps tutors were able to improve young students' reading com
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Contact: Jessica Martin
jessica_martin@wustl.edu
314-935-5251
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

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