Scheduled Maintenance Notice

ALERT:  Member Portal, eGrants Phase 2, and Grantee Portal will be offline for maintenance from Friday, April 10 at 8pm through Monday, April 13 at 8am (ET).  
We appreciate your patience!

Minnesota Reading Corps Evaluation

Minnesota Reading Corps Evaluation Reports GraphicMore than two-thirds of fourth grade students in the United States -- as many as six million children -- do not read proficiently. The problem is most acute for children living in poverty, children of color, English language learners, and children with disabilities.

The implications are profound: Third grade marks the pivotal point when children transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Children who can’t read by then struggle more with the increasingly complex, multidisciplinary information introduced in later grades. Those who read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school than those who don’t.
 
The Minnesota Reading Corps is the nation’s largest AmeriCorps tutoring program.  AmeriCorps members serving in the Minnesota Reading Corps provide evidence-informed interventions and data-driven assessments to children from age three to grade three.  Since 2003, the program has helped more than 100,000 struggling readers progress towards proficiency, and the model has expanded to seven other states and Washington DC, now reaching more than 36,000 students annually.  
 
As part of our focus using evaluation to measure impact and improve performance, CNCS funded a two-part independent evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps. This research, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, consisted of an outcome evaluation of the Pre-K program and a randomized controlled trial evaluation of the K-3 program.  Both of these evaluations found AmeriCorps members can produce significantly greater increases in student’s literacy outcomes, and that model is highly replicable in multiple settings.   
 

Outcome Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps Pre-K Program

As part of our focus using evaluation to measure impact and improve performance, CNCS funded a two-part independent evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps.  This research, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, consisted of an outcome evaluation of the Pre-K program and a randomized controlled trial evaluation of the K-3 program.  Both of these evaluations found AmeriCorps members can produce significantly greater increases in student’s literacy outcomes, and that model is highly replicable in multiple settings. 
 
As part of its goal to help children become proficient readers by the end of third grade, the Minnesota Reading Corps engages AmeriCorps members in providing evidence-based literacy enrichment and tutoring services to preschool (Pre-K) students and at-risk Kindergarten through third grade (K-3) elementary school students.
 
This report summarizes a recently completed quasi-experimental design (QED) outcome evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps Pre-K program.  The positive and significant findings demonstrate that the model effectively improves preschool student’s emergent literacy skills and is highly replicable in multiple school settings and across different student characteristics.  Furthermore, the study highlights AmeriCorps members’ crucial contributions as tutors and education partners within the Minnesota Reading Corps model.  
 

Pre-K Evaluation Key Findings

This independent evaluation showed that AmeriCorps members using the Minnesota Reading Corps model can significantly boost the emergent literacy skills of Pre-K students (ages three, four, and five.)
  • AmeriCorps tutors with Minnesota Reading Corps helped four- and five-year-old students meet or exceed spring targets for kindergarten readiness in all five assessed areas.  Students in comparison classrooms did so only for one. The effect sizes were not only significant, but substantial in magnitude.
     
  • By school’s year end, four-and five-year old students in Minnesota Reading Corps classrooms outperformed students in comparison classrooms in all five emergent literacy outcomes assessed:  recognizing letter sounds, rhyming words, letter names, picture names, and alliterations. 
     
  • The program was effective across a range of settings – both in public schools and Head Start Centers – and for all students regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, or dual language learner status.
     
  • By the end of the school year, three-year old students in Minnesota Reading Corps classrooms significantly outperformed students in comparison classrooms in rhyming words and picture names. 

Pre-K Evaluation Documents

Summary of key findings of the Outcome Evaluation
 
Full report on Minnesota Reading Corps Pre-K program impacts  
 
Look at Minnesota Reading Corps Pre-K program design
 
Additional charts, tables, and data
 

Impact Evaluation of the Minnesota Reading Corps K-3 Program

MRC Tutor using flashcardsA growing body of research validates what works in teaching children to read: Well-trained tutors delivering early, targeted, evidence-based interventions to students in need.
 
To better understand how national service is addressing the challenge of childhood literacy, CNCS funded a randomized controlled trial evaluation of Minnesota Reading Corps, the nation’s largest AmeriCorps tutoring program.
 
This rigorous third-party evaluation, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, found that elementary students tutored by AmeriCorps members achieved significantly higher literacy levels than students without such tutors, and that the impacts were statistically significant even among  students at higher risk for academic failure.
 

K-3 Evaluation Key Findings  

The Minnesota Reading Corps K-3 Program Impact Evaluation showed that AmeriCorps members can produce significantly greater increases in student literacy outcomes among elementary students over one semester of tutoring.
  • The average kindergarten student with an AmeriCorps tutor performed twice as well as students without one.
     
  • AmeriCorps tutors helped the average first grade student perform 26 percent better than the expected level for on-track students.
     
  • Students with higher risk factors (such as dual language learners and students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch) who received AmeriCorps tutoring significantly outperformed students who didn’t.
     
  • The Minnesota Reading Corps program is replicable in multiple school settings using AmeriCorps members with varied backgrounds, such as gender, race, age, years of education, full/part-time AmeriCorps status, and prior experience).

K-3 Evaluation Documents

Summary of key findings of the Impact Evaluation
 
Full report on Minnesota Reading Corps K-3 program impacts  
 
Look at Minnesota Reading Corps program design
 
Additional charts, tables, and data
 
 

The Reading Corps Model

Minnesota Reading Corps, a strategic initiative of ServeMinnesota, demonstrates how service and science can accelerate improvement in both students and systems. By mobilizing the people power of AmeriCorps, Reading Corps provides proven literacy interventions and data-based assessments to children from age three to grade three.
 
Using the latest research on reading intervention strategies and guidance from literacy experts, Reading Corps fixes a critical link in literacy acquisition. It provides what struggling readers need – individualized, data-driven instruction, one-on-one attention, well-trained tutors, instruction delivered with fidelity, and the frequency and duration necessary for student achievement.
 
Since 2003, Minnesota Reading Corps has helped more than 100,000 struggling readers progress toward reading proficiency by the end of the third grade.  The Reading Corps program has expanded to seven additional states (California, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia. Altogether, nearly 1,500 AmeriCorps members are using the Reading Corps model to serve 36,000 students at 921 sites across the country this year.

Study Finds AmeriCorps Program Boosts Literacy Skills of Pre-K Students

Washington Post: “Can volunteers help kids read more proficiently? New research says yes.”

National Service In Your State

See the impact service has throughout our nation.

Read More

Back to Top