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 90 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 spell below grade level. Your literacy training is 1:1 or in small groups and is a two-hour initial session with ongoing support. 

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 after-school programs in Asheville to work with their students:  Youth Transformed for Life (YTL) and Christine W. Avery.

We’re working on two new exciting youth initiatives:

Recent reports indicate Buncombe County has over 750 homeless students and the numbers continue to rise. Literacy Together will work with homeless 9th-12th graders who need a reading and writing tutor. These students attend either Clyde A. Erwin High School or Enka High School. Tutoring will be in person, and days and times are flexible. Your 1:1 tutoring support can help students stay in school, graduate, and build a stable and healthy future for themselves. Please contact Rebecca Massey if you’re interested in this volunteering opportunity. 

Literacy Together will serve 5th-8th graders who need a reading/writing or math tutor. Tutoring will take place on site at one or more schools in the Enka/Candler area. Your 1:1 tutoring support can make a huge difference to students who are struggling academically, and this mentorship is also transformative for kids who are going through a crucial stage of their development. Please contact Rebecca Massey if you’re interested in this volunteering opportunity. 

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. 

Apply to become an intern!

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.

Read these Youth Literacy success stories!

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

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