Scaling Reading Success

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Grantee Information

Federal Award: $3 million over three years (2015-2018)
Focus Area: Youth Development
Geographic Focus: Up to seven of 19 eligible states: AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, MA, MI, MN, OR, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA and WA

Through its SIF program, Scaling Reading Success, the AARP Foundation is scaling Experience Corps, a program that matches volunteers aged 50+ with children in K-3rd grade classrooms reading below grade level.

This project addresses the need for replicable, scalable, and cost-effective models to reduce the number of children not reaching the critical benchmark of reading by the end of the third grade.  The AARP Foundation is evaluating whether this more cost-effective and scalable small group intervention is as effective as the higher cost, one-on-one tutoring approach. If the outcomes prove comparable to one-on-one tutoring, this model would offer schools nationwide a more sustainable solution for improving literacy outcomes.

The AARP Foundation was previously awarded a Social Innovation Fund grant in 2014 to expand and evaluate its BACK TO WORK 50+ model in community colleges. Visit their 2014 project page here.


Entities Receiving Social Innovation Fund Awards from AARP Foundation

Aspiranet - Experience Corps Bay Area
The Children's Initiative
Generations Inc.
Read to Succeed Buffalo
Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center
United Way California Capital Region
United Way Central Georgia

Aspiranet - Experience Corps Bay Area
San Francisco, CA
Area Served: Greater Bay Area, San Mateo County
Initial Award Amount: $148,454

Over the course of four years, Experience Corps Bay Area plans on engaging 265 volunteers and serving 2,300 students through sustained small group tutoring. Aspiranet – Experience Corps Bay Area serves the Greater Bay Area and San Mateo County region.

The Children's Initiative
San Diego, CA
Area Served: Greater San Diego Area
Initial Award Amount: $144,872

Over the course of four years, The Children’s Initiative plans on engaging 240 volunteers and serving 2,400 students through sustained small group tutoring. The Children’s Initiative serves the Greater San Diego region.

Traditionally, the Experience Corps model occurs solely during school hours. However, California education funding includes after school programs that essentially replicate the classroom experience. The Children’s Initiative is implement the Scaling Reading Success model in the afternoon school setting, which is a new approach.

Generations Inc.
Boston, MA
Area Served: Greater Boston Area
Initial Award Amount: $172,755

Over the course of four years, Generations Inc. plans on engaging 158 volunteers and serving 3,750 students through sustained small group and sustained small group plus literacy assistance tutoring. Generations Inc. serves the Greater Boston region.

Generations Inc. is a current Experience Corps site that has relied mostly on the one-on-one tutoring model. Through the SIF grant, Generations Inc. is working closely with AARP Foundation and an independent evaluator to investigate the expansion of small group tutoring (three to four children) and small group plus classroom-wide assistance models.

Read to Succeed Buffalo
Buffalo, NY
Area Served: Greater Buffalo Area
Initial Award Amount: $200,000

Over the course of four years, Read to Succeed Buffalo plans on engaging 152 volunteers and serving 5,172 students through sustained small group and sustained small group plus literacy assistance tutoring. Read to Succeed Buffalo serves the Greater Buffalo region.

Read to Succeed Buffalo presents an additional opportunity for AARP Foundation to learn how it might adjust the Experience Corps model for nearly any primary language spoken by a student.  Buffalo has become a refugee resettlement city, with over 80 different languages spoken in the public school system.

Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center
Sacramento, CA
Area Served: Sacramento
Initial Award Amount: $282,835

Over the course of four years, Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center plans on engaging 186 volunteers and serving 4,350 students through sustained small group and sustained small group plus literacy assistance tutoring. Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center serves Sacramento, CA.

Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center is collaborating with United Way California Capital Region, another AARP Foundation SIF subgrantee that is serving a different Sacramento County public school district, to share learnings. 

United Way California Capital Region
Sacramento, CA
Area Served: Greater Sacramento Area
Initial Award Amount: $275,395

United Way California Capital Region plans on engaging 280 volunteers and serving 7,840 students through sustained small group and sustained small group plus literacy assistance tutoring. United Way California Capital Region serves the Greater Sacramento region.

United Way California Capital Region is collaborating with Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center, another AARP Foundation SIF subgrantee that is serving a different Sacramento County public school district, to share learnings.

United Way Central Georgia
Macon, GA
Area Served: Bibb County, Greater Macon Area
Initial Award Amount: $172,755

United Way Central Georgia plans on engaging 450 volunteers and serving 3,751 students through sustained small group and sustained small group plus literacy assistance tutoring. United Way Central Georgia serves the Macon/Bibb County, GA region.

The Scaling Reading Success model requires working in communities with a high to moderate population density in order to recruit enough volunteers to serve as tutors. As a result, AARP Foundation’s ability to expand into rural areas has been limited. The population of Bibb County provides an opportunity to establish a solid Experience Corps volunteer base in a moderately populated area with the expectation of expanding into surrounding rural areas served by United Way Central Georgia.

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