Reading Rescue

We helped to pioneer the use of CUNY Brooklyn college students enrolled in early childhood literacy courses as Reading Rescue (a one-on-one evidence-based intervention) tutors for students in the New York City public school system. The pilot received significant interest from the funder community and the model is now being supported by several other foundations in various iterations. It was the catalyst of CUNY Reading Corps, currently engaging hundreds of CUNY students across eighteen colleges in paid tutoring work for Department of Education students.

The pilot evolved into CUNY Reading Corps and has become a $2M public/private partnership which has engaged hundreds of CUNY students across 18 colleges in paid work to tutor DOE students in early reading skills – a classic example of our venture philanthropy approach.

The Reading Rescue lesson plan, which takes 30-40 minutes, integrates instruction on the essential components of literacy as determined by the National Reading Panel and targets support to high-need first grade students who are reading below grade level. Our funding for Reading Rescue will also lead to the development of a “playbook” of how best to implement Reading Rescue through CUNY so that it can be expanded more widely.

The results for Rescue’s intervention are very promising. For example, for the 2021-22 school year, average intervention reading level growth for Rescue students was approximately 1 reading level per 10-20 sessions, with acceleration happening after 20 sessions. For first grade students, the expected growth is approximately 4-5 reading levels in 10 months. Reading Rescue’s data demonstrated a growth of one year, in just 3-4 months (and 30+ sessions).

For more on a strategic partnership we created between CUNY Brooklyn College, Reading Rescue and GO Project, see here.

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