Aug 24, 2023 - Education

Indianapolis rolls out reading tutor program

Illustration of a red lifesaver rescuing a hardcover book

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Indianapolis will deploy reading tutors at 10 sites this school year in an effort to boost flagging literacy rates.

Why it matters: Data shows that many Indianapolis students are lacking foundational reading skills, which means they could fall further behind in school.

What's happening: The Circle City Readers program will employ tutors at nine schools and a Boys and Girls Club starting in October.

  • It follows a pilot of the program last spring that officials said showed promise.

Details: The city aims to serve 800 students throughout this year — a significant increase from last spring's pilot that served 36 students for eight weeks.

  • Even in that relatively short time frame, officials said every student improved from where they began.
  • The city is funding the initiative with $1 million in federal COVID relief money.

Catch up fast: The move comes as Indiana grapples with stagnating reading scores for third-grade students.

  • IPS was one of three Marion County districts that saw scores on the IREAD-3 drop this year.

The big picture: Indiana is overhauling the way schools teach young children to read, aligning teaching methods and curriculum to what's being called "the science of reading."

  • Circle City Readers will train parents and community members to work as paid tutors, using a "science of reading" curriculum.

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