Wisconsin Reading Corps combines the people power of AmeriCorps and the science of how children learn to read. Trained AmeriCorps members are placed in early learning centers and elementary schools statewide to serve as literacy tutors for children from age 3 to grade 3. Tutors work with children one-on-one and in small groups daily, providing literacy interventions that are tailored to each learner’s needs.
Wisconsin Reading Corps launched in 2015. Since then, the program has expanded to help more children get on track to succeed in reading.
And it works. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago (2018) found that elementary students tutored by the Wisconsin Reading Corps achieved significantly higher literacy levels than students without such tutors, and that the impacts were statistically significant even among students at higher risk of academic failure. The same study determined these positive effects are multiplied for low-income students, students of color, and English Learners. Some highlights of that study include:
Students served by Wisconsin Reading Corps demonstrate more than a year’s worth of progress on reading proficiency indicators
Kindergarten students tutored by the Wisconsin Reading Corp attained grade level reading skills in a single, semester while the growth rate of their control group peers was 30% less.
First Grade students tutored by the Wisconsin Reading Corps significantly outperformed their control group peers, showing a growth rate 25% higher.
Wisconsin Reading Corps students saw a substantially accelerated growth rate that was 30-40% above typical literacy improvements.
The average Reading Corps student outpaced their non-Reading Corps peers, but the growth rate of minority students and English language learners (ELL) was even greater.
In 2017, Reading Corps was recognized by the Library of Congress for best practices in literacy promotion. As an honoree, Reading Corps is just one of four organizations worldwide to be recognized in reading instruction and tutoring.