VIPS Reading with Volunteers Results Show Students Improving
- November 17, 2011
EverbodyReads volunteer Mike Zobrist with student Cameron Hayes
Volunteers In Public Schools (VIPS) released an evaluation of the 2010-2011 Edusoft tests of students who received help from a Reading Friend volunteer through VIPS’ EveryBody Reads program, and results indicate the volunteer mentoring is helping students learn.
Edusoft is an assessment tool administered by the East Baton Rouge Parish School System used to measure students grasp of the material taught by the teacher. The test is comprised of subject matter from the district’s comprehensive curriculum. The EveryBody Reads evaluation looked at the pre- and post-Edusoft test results given in English/Language Arts.
The results showed 26 percent of students who were visited by a Reading Friend 20 or more times increased their skills by three levels; compared to only 14 percent of students who were recommended to the program but not matched with a Reading Friend. Fifty percent of students who received between 10 to 19 visits by a Reading Friend increased their skills by two levels; compared to only 35 percent of those students who were recommended but were not matched with a Reading Friend.
“We are quite pleased with the results of the evaluation. Research indicates that when a student falls behind especially in reading, one-on-one tutoring proves to be the most effective strategy in bringing about a significant change,” said Judy Bethly, VIPS executive director. “Individualized tutoring also improves a student’s vocabulary and self-confidence. Our volunteers understand that when you help a child learn to read, you’re not only giving him tools to better his academic standing but his chances in life.”
The evaluation drew from a sample size of about 500 students who were recommended by their teachers to participate in the program and matched with a Reading Friend. The study segregated the numbers by looking at the number of times a Reading Friend tutored a student: 1-9 sessions, 10-19 sessions; and 20-plus sessions. These test scores were compared to a sample of 300 students who were recommended to the program but who were not tutored by a Reading Friend. Edusoft test results fall into one of four categories: unsatisfactory, approaching basic, basic, mastery and advanced. Students recommended for the EveryBody Reads program mostly fall into the unsatisfactory range.
EveryBody Reads was developed in 1998 through a partnership between VIPS and The Mayor’s office to help improve reading skills of young students. Teachers recommend kindergarten through third-grade students who may be reading one or two grade levels below standard but who do not require a reading specialist. A Reading Friend volunteer passes a mandatory background check, attends a required training, receives invites to attend follow-up trainings and commits to read with an assigned student on a consistent basis with the goal of achieving at least 20 visits during the school year.
Reading Friends are trained to assist students in discovering various ways to decode words that they do not recognize, to read fluently, and to read for understanding. Follow-up trainings called Connect meetings allow volunteers to hear from experts in the field of literacy including parish reading coaches and LSU Elementary Education professors.
Angela Lau, Volunteer director explained, “VIPS wants our volunteers to be well prepared when visiting their students; but we know we could not achieve these results without the classroom teacher. They lay the foundation and our volunteers try to enhance what the teacher is doing in the classroom. In fact, teachers inform us of those areas where students need the most help and the best times to visit the child at school. Teachers provide guidance and feedback for our volunteers. ”
Currently, EveryBody Reads serves 788 students in 36 schools. There are 538 students waiting to be matched with a Reading Friend volunteer. To volunteer and sign up for a training, visit VIPS website at vips.ebrschools.org or call Hope Dawan, VIPS EveryBody Reads coordinator, at (225) 226-4702.
VIPS is an independent nonprofit that fosters student success and builds support for public education.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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