Winter 2019 Newsletter – Intergenerational Tutoring Program


Intergenerational Tutoring Program

With so much overcrowding in our public elementary school classrooms, some kids just need a little one-on-one time with a mentor to help them build confidence when they’re struggling in class,” says Kyra Giles, Program Director for our volunteer-based Intergenerational Tutoring Program.

“Through this program, I’m able to train and support older adults who have the time and dedication to come in and be reading buddies with elementary school children in kindergarten through third grade. These students are really just developing their vocabulary and their reading skills, and they have been identified by their teachers as needing a little extra support to become great readers and thinkers and writers.”

Kindergarten through third grade is a critical age for literacy development, since studies have shown that a student’s success in reading throughout their academic career is largely determined by fourth grade. And, the students are not the only ones receiving benefits from the program. The older adults who volunteer their time to be a mentor for the entire school year find it very rewarding.

“These mentors receive the satisfaction of helping a neighbor, a student, the school, and contributing to the community in a positive way. They get to go on that journey with a single young person. They begin by meeting a student who wants to read a book, but feels that they will not be able to do so with ease, based on their classroom experience. But after several one-on-one visits as their reading buddy, the mentors begin to see these students running toward them with a smile, ready and willing to try to read.”

In our most recent evaluation of the program, teachers reported that 80% of students showed improvement in their attitudes towards reading/ language arts, and 86% showed improvement in academic performance and participation in class. School principals found the program to be a positive addition to their school, and they all requested more tutors, citing the progress students in the program had made.

“One of our mentor and student pairs actually ended up continuing their reading sessions throughout the summer on their own accord. They met weekly at the local library,” said Kyra.

If you have the ability to visit an elementary school in East Harlem once a week and are interested in mentoring a child, contact Kyra at: