Youth Literacy

Youth Literacy

The Youth Literacy Program improves the academic achievement of children from low-income families who struggle with literacy skills.  The project trains tutors who provide free, one-on-one instruction in reading, writing, and spelling.  This program serves approximately 50 students per year. 

“It almost brought us to tears to watch one student sitting on the edge of his seat, fully engrossed in the task at hand. It was like you could see the light bulbs going off in his head. You could almost read his thoughts, ‘I’m reading! I’m reading! I can do this!’”  – Julie Thomas, former volunteer tutor

Youth Literacy tutors work with children from low-income families who read, write, and/or spell below grade level. Tutors in this program complete an initial orientation and 16-20 hours of training, which includes some pre-course work and/or homework (short articles to read, short videos to watch). They then receive follow-up support and the option to attend in-service training throughout their tutoring commitment. 

Tutors in this program work with their students twice per week for 50 minutes each session for at least one school year. Literacy Together has identified two afterschool programs in Asheville to work with their students:  Youth Transformed for Life (YTL) and Christine W. Avery. Learn more about volunteering with this program.

Read these Youth Literacy success stories!

Igniting Superhero Readers Summer Camp

In the summer of 2021, the Youth Literacy Program partnered with Youth Transformed for Life and the Christine W. Avery Learning Center to create the Igniting Superhero Readers Summer Camp, an eight-week program working with elementary-age students in the Asheville area. Igniting Superhero Readers Summer Camp emphasizes recruiting youth of color for paid internships to serve as tutors. Recent research documents that students of color taught by those who share their identities and cultural backgrounds benefit academically and emotionally (source: Teach for America, June 2019).  The interns receive training in phonics-based instruction to work with the students daily to build literacy skills and a love for reading! 

In addition, the Igniting Superhero Readers internship will continue throughout the school year, thanks to a grant from the City of Asheville.  The interns will provide 1:1 reading tutoring to the children participating in the after-school programs at Youth Transformed for Life and Christine W. Avery Learning Center after-school programs. 

Instructional Tools

Youth Literacy tutors receive 16-20 hours of training in research-based reading instruction, which incorporates phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, spelling & written expression. The training is Orton-Gillingham based, emphasizing the importance of direct instruction, engaging all the senses in learning, and presenting information in a structured, sequential format targeting the student’s individual needs. Wilson Reading System® materials guide the lesson planning process.

Becoming a Volunteer Tutor

Should I be a tutor? What’s involved? Email or call (828) 254-3442 x 204. Sign up online to come to an online volunteer orientation meeting.

This video portrays two of our Youth Literacy students and their tutor. Enjoy it!

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