This story was originally published by the State of Colorado.
FORT COLLINS — Today, Lieutenant Governor Primavera visited Coyote Ridge Elementary School to highlight the recent success of the Reading Corps program that Colorado AmeriCorps members are currently leading in 66 schools across the state. This includes routine one on one or small group tutoring sessions for students to help them achieve grade-level reading. Colorado’s AmeriCorps programming is led by Serve Colorado, which is part of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, and the Reading Corps service program is carried out by Colorado Youth for a Change.
“We’re incredibly proud of the work Colorado AmeriCorps members are leading to invest in the educational growth and development for elementary school students,” said Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera. “Studies show that early reading skills are linked with positive outcomes later in life including pursuing higher education and accessing well paying jobs. It’s exciting to see AmeriCorps service resulting in better outcomes for Colorado students, and we’re committed to continuing this important work.”
A recent evaluation of Colorado’s Reading Corps program has revealed an average student growth equivalent to several months of additional instruction. Student growth was even more significant among English-language learners (ELL), equating to nearly 16 extra weeks for ELL. Cost-benefit analyses show that the program provides a strong return on investment, exceeding $5 for every $1 invested.
Reading Corps launched in 2003 and uses AmeriCorps members as literacy tutors. The program has been replicated in 13 states and is backed by a large body of research, including rigorous third-party randomized control trials. The program consists of daily 20-minute one-on-one or small group literacy interventions with students in kindergarten through third grade identified as needing extra support in reading. Colorado Youth for a Change implements the program in Colorado and served 2,682 students through the program last year.
“We are committed to supporting schools across Colorado by delivering high-quality proven programming to students while cultivating experience and skills in our future educators,” said Mary Zanotti Executive Director of Colorado Youth for a Change. “Our partnerships with Lieutenant Governor Primavera and Serve Colorado make this impact possible, and we look forward to witnessing continued growth in our students and AmeriCorps members in the years to come.”
Coyote Ridge Elementary and the Thompson School District participated in the Reading Corps statewide evaluation, and are also participating in Serve Colorado’s innovative Teacher Pipeline program. In this program, AmeriCorps members complete one year of service delivering academic tutoring, mentorship, and socioemotional wellness support to students. Following their initial service year, members have the opportunity to complete a second year of service, all while simultaneously enrolling in a state-approved alternative teacher licensure program. This opportunity empowers members to fill important jobs in Colorado schools, and remain in the communities where they have fostered profound connections with students and families, all while acquiring a teaching license.
For more information about the Colorado Reading Corps program and to learn how to join the program and volunteer, visit youthforachange.org/our-