Cluster has had a program-wide focus on literacy since 2010, and our results have exceeded expectations. Despite the fact that 65 percent of our new students enter the program reading a year or more below grade level, over 75 percent of Cluster students are usually reading at or above grade level by the end of the tutoring year.
Cluster provides students with a reading curriculum to work on with their tutors during their weekly session. It is based primarily on the SRA Reading Laboratory and requires elementary school students to work on their reading for a minimum of 30 minutes a week. Cluster also employs a Reading Specialist who provides specialized consultation and guidance to tutors and their students in grades K through 5.
Cluster added Ready Readers, a special curriculum for its youngest students in 2013. The Ready Readers curriculum provides students in grades K-3 with 60 minutes of activities designed to build critical reading skills. Its goal is to have our students reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Ready Readers is based on Book Buddies, a tutoring framework that was developed by Francine R. Johnston and Marcia Invernizzi at the University of Virginia in 1997.
To further support our students in building and maintaining their reading skills, Cluster implemented a summer reading program in 2017. It runs for six weeks, two evenings per week from early July through mid-August. This research-based program is designed to help students improve their reading skills, reduce ‘summer learning slide’, and encourages an enjoyment of reading. Students work in small groups with a qualified teacher and program aide.