- EMCF Evidence Base - Reading Partners - Current Grantees - Grantees - EMCF
Reading Partners

Reading Partners

MDRC conducted in 2012-2013 a rigorous random assignment study of Reading Partners in 19 schools in three states, involving more than 1,200 second-to-fifth-graders. Findings include:

  • Despite the challenges of delivering a program via volunteers, Reading Partners was implemented with a high degree of fidelity.
  • Reading Partners had a positive impact on all three measures of reading proficiency examined: comprehension, fluency, and sight-word reading.
  • In one year, students in the program showed 1.5 to two months more growth in literacy than peers receiving other forms of supplemental reading services. 
  • The program was effective for a wide variety of students—from different grades and baseline reading achievement levels, male and female, and non-native English speakers.

Within EMCF’s framework for assessing an organization’s evidence of effectiveness, Reading Partners meets the standard of “proven effectiveness.”

The study also looked at the cost of the Reading Partners program and found: 

  • Reading Partners brings substantial resources to a school. The evaluation estimates that in the six study schools that participated in the cost study, Reading Partners brought on average $3,610 worth of resources per student to the school. 
  • Unlike many other resource-rich programs, over half of the Reading Partners’ resources ($1,910 of the $3,610) were in-kind contributions, primarily from community volunteers.
  • As a result, Reading Partners schools bear only a small portion of the total cost of the program.

Internally collected data has shown that 89 percent of participants accelerate the rate at which they acquire literacy skills, and on average students double their rate of learning, gaining 1.6 months of reading skills for every month they spend in the program.  A limited study completed in 2011 by Stanford University’s School of Education also yielded promising results.