Looking Back: Stories of Impact

It’s a new year, and The Literacy Lab is excited to share the launch of our new blog! In 2018 and beyond, we’ll be sharing stories of impact from current Literacy Lab tutors, profiles on alumni that continue to live our core values, and community partners that are helping us close the achievement gap for students across the US. To kick off the Literacy Lab Blog 2.0, we want to look back on moments that tutors shared from the first half of their service year this past fall.

*Students names have been changed to protect their privacy.



“I have been working with Kayden for the entire year. When I first met him, he was completely frustrated with reading and could not understand the greater importance of it. There were times when he would want to quit on me, and I absolutely refused to let him. I could see at a glance just how much potential he had, and I was determined to show him just how bright he truly is. Today, he hit graduation criteria for the first time. I have never seen him more excited to read. His teacher has seen a marked improvement in his classroom performance and his overall attitude toward learning.”

Courtney Woodard, K-3 tutor serving at Donahoe Elementary in Richmond.


“The victory comes when you are working with your kids & they finally start to understand how to rhyme or identify their letters. That’s when you celebrate. That’s when you realize that this job is about way more than you & suddenly getting up at 6 am every day isn’t so bad.”

Maya Jackson, Pre-K tutor serving at Bridges Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.


“My co-tutor, Lauren, and I have self-affirmations written on our wall. When I was working on an intervention with one of my second graders, she was getting frustrated with herself every time I corrected her. She would pout and say that she was ready to give up. I pointed at one of the affirmations that said “I may make mistakes sometimes, but I choose to learn from them” and I told her that I wrote that specifically for her. With a big smile on her face, she confidently went through the intervention and allowed me to correct her, then, in turn, corrected herself properly. At the end of the intervention, she pointed at the other self-affirmations on the wall and told me, “did you write those other ones just for me too?”‘

Mariah Santiago, K-3 tutor serving at Melcher Elementary School in Kansas City.


“This year, two of my caseload students in particular have just flown sky-high in their various skills since the beginning of school. Jayden and London are excelling during their rhyming interventions as well as their small group work with our lead teacher. Additionally, it’s obvious that the individualized attention, affirmations, and praise for London’s progress and hard work have given big boosts to her self-confidence.”

Jennifer Adcock, Pre-K tutor serving at Turner Elementary School in Washington, D.C.