Retirees in Tempe have been helping the younger generation improve their reading skills for over a decade.
The Experience Corps program puts together retired community members with kindergarten through third-grade students in the Tempe Elementary School District.
The program has grown over the past 10 years, with 80 community members working in 10 Temple schools, according to a news release. Over 350 students who will be reached through the program this year.
Each volunteer is paired with four students to mentor during the school year. As part of the training, a reading specialist shares tips about reading and positive reinforcement.
The students meet with their mentor twice a week.
Teachers have reported that 84 percent of students involved in the program improved their reading and literacy skill level by at least half a grade, the release said. Additionally, three out of four students from the program reached benchmarks on DIBELS testing. There have also been improvements in other areas, including motivation and concentration.
School principals have indicated their strong support for the program, along with students and their families, the release said.
The program not only benefits students but also gives older community members the ability to give back.