Making Gains On and Off The Graph


The 2018-19 recruitment cycle is in full swing at The Literacy Lab, and as our team talks to new applicants every day, we find that a lot of applicants have the same question: how will my service as a Literacy Lab tutor impact students?

As a data-driven organization, our first instinct is to jump into numbers about how many students reach grade level reading targets and kindergarten readiness by the end of the school year. And while future Literacy Lab tutors are interested in hearing about the impact of our program on a macro scale, there’s always a second layer to that question: how are Literacy Lab tutors helping students develop beyond the numbers on their progress graphs?

The answer to this question is a little bit harder to sum up in a sentence or two. Beyond the improvements that Literacy Lab tutors see in specific and measurable areas, students in literacy tutoring experience growth as confident readers and members of their school communities!

“One of the biggest differences I’ve noted, aside from graph improvements, are the huge gains in confidence that I have seen in all of my students,” says K-3 tutor Jamie Mack.

With one student in particular, Jamie noticed a big change in mentality and mindset after several weeks of one-on-one literacy tutoring.

“Not only is she sounding great,” Jamie says, “but her learning goes deeper. She asks questions that show she understands the passage and seeks links to her everyday experiences.”

Research from Johns Hopkins’ Urban Health Institute notes that students feel most connected to school when they experience “the Triad of Engagement: interpersonal connectedness with school staff and peers, an engaging environment that is physically and emotionally safe, and academic engagement – support to reach their personal best with flexible, relevant instruction.”

Literacy Lab tutors help build an engaging environment for their students where it’s okay to make mistakes as long as we keep making our best effort toward meeting progress goals. Building a supportive and safe place to practice reading skills makes a big difference in tutoring and in the classroom.

“Today, he hit exit criteria for the first time. I have never seen him more excited to read,” says Courtney Woodard of a student on her caseload. “His teacher has seen a marked improvement in his classroom performance and his overall attitude toward learning.”

Baltimore K-3 tutors Gabriel and Sarah noticed that after they began building stronger interpersonal connections with their students, their self-esteem as young readers and members of the school community began to rise. Hear more from Gabriel and Sarah in the video below!