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Children who are not reaching key literacy benchmarks at the end of first grade, almost never acquire average-level reading skills by the end of elementary school
— Torgesen, J: Preventing Early Reading Failure. American Educator Fall, 2004

Classroom Literacy

The Classroom Literacy Program places well-trained volunteers in kindergarten through third grade classrooms for up to 10 hours each week. They provide focused literacy support throughout the school year. Volunteers are older adults from the community and they work one-on-one or with small groups of students assigned by the teacher. This allows more individual attention for students, gives the teacher time to work with children who are the most under-performing, and reduces the adult-child ratio. Focused and sustained volunteer tutoring is dedicated to these activities:

  • Interactive Read Aloud
  • Independent Reading
  • Writing Skills
  • Phonics and Skill Support

Our Impact

During the 2014 school year:

  • 92% of teachers reported that our volunteers improved their students’ reading and literacy skills.
  • 92% of teachers reported that our volunteers improved their students’ participation and motivation to learn.
  • 90% of teachers reported that the presence of our volunteers in the classroom gave them the extra time they needed to assist students who were struggling academically.
  • 87% of teachers report that our volunteers' support moved students towards reading on grade level.

A 2008 study on kindergarten classrooms by Wellesley College and BPS shows that our program serves the district’s most challenging classrooms and has a statistically significant impact on vocabulary scores for special needs students and English Language Learners.


I really rely on the extra support from Generations Incorporated. As much as I’d like to be there for every student every time, it’s impossible. To have students have someone else focusing on what they need . . . that helps.
— First Grade Teacher, Boston Public Schools

Marie Hennessey is an AARP Experience Corps volunteer in Revere where she serves in a kindergarten classroom at the Whelan Elementary School. In 2012 she worked with a young student named Lucas. He, like most 5 year-olds, had a lot of energy and was unable to focus. Marie worked one-on-one with Lucas, and together they built a strong relationship throughout the year. It was amazing to see how consistent attention and reinforcement from Marie as well as strong guidance from the teacher helped Lucas. With Marie’s individualized support, he went from a disruptive kindergartener to a student eager to learn!