By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) — A non-profit program in Baltimore offers residents a chance to volunteer and help students improve their reading and writing skills.

In its seventh year, Reading Partners of Baltimore has spread to fifteen Baltimore City schools. The program has volunteer providing one on one tutoring for students in underserved communities.

“We bring community volunteers into schools at least once a week to help work one on one with students,” said Reading Partners executive director Jeffery Zwillenberg. “We work in fifteen Baltimore City public schools and our goal is to serve seven-hundred-fifty students.”

Dawn Brown began tutoring at Lockerman Bundy Elementary School in West Baltimore three weeks ago. He works with students there two hours a day, two days a week.

“This is the first time I’ve ever volunteered to tutor,” said Brown. “It’s very interesting and the children are very sweet.”

Reading Partners emphasizes kindergartners through fourth graders.

“We know that when students approach fourth grade, they make a switch, going from learning to read, to reading to learn,” said Zwillenberg. “So subjects like math, social studies, and science. If they don’t have those core abilities to read, they’re just going to continue to struggle in other subjects.”

83 percent of all Reading Partners students met or exceeded their primary end-of-year literacy growth goal. 90 percent of K-2 students mastered key foundational reading skills needed to read at grade level.

“I feel good about being able to give back to our community and help our children,” said Brown.

Reading Partners is always looking for volunteers.

“So because we’re in fifteen schools and working throughout the academic day, odds are there is a school, a day, and a time that will work for you,” said Zwillenberg. “Come in and spend one hour with a kid and help them learn how to read.”

To volunteer with Reading Partners, visit the volunteer page on their website.

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