Tutoring Process

1. Tutoring Process

ATC’s program is based on UVA Curry School of Education's research-driven, peer reviewed and proven Book Buddies program. Qualified coordinators provide training, guidance, materials and for first graders write lesson plans targeted at each child’s reading needs for each volunteer to use with the child they tutor. First graders and kindergartners are each tutored one-on-one two 30 minute sessions a week from approximately mid-October through May. Twice a year each child is given $15 worth of gift books for their own libraries.

2. Program Goals

Program Goals
Goal 1: Each student will improve reading skills
Goal 2: 70% will reach end-of-year grade level PALS benchmarks
Goal 3: All students will be tutored by a trained, motivated volunteer(s)
Goal 4: Beneficial student/adult relationship
Goal 5: Selected students receive two 30 minute sessions of tutoring each week


3. In both the Book Buddies and Reading Readiness Programs you are expected to try to find a substitute if, for whatever reason, you cannot tutor. At the beginning of the tutoring year, your school's Book Buddies or Reading Readiness coordinator will provide you with a matrix that includes the first name of your student, the names and contact information for your school's Book Buddies or Reading Readiness liaison, often the reading specialist, your student's teacher and the other ATC volunteers. If your tutoring partner is not available to substitute for you, please try another volunteer on the list to see if they can and then, please be open to tutoring for them if they need a substitute.

4. Tutoring takes place at the school, mostly during school hours from mid-October through May. 

5. Each volunteer will write the amount of time he/she tutored a student on the student’s ATC  Sheet for Tracking Number of Hours Each Student Was Tutored which is kept in each student’s folder or box.                                                                                      

6. ATC Calendar for Volunteer Tutors                                                

June through OctoberAll returning and new tutors are required to fill out ATC’s Registration form every year.  New tutors will also fill out Alexandria City Public Schools’ Volunteer Application.                                                                                      

October Volunteers are matched with students and invited as a group to Book Buddies and Reading Readiness training sessions that include an orientation to your school. 

December -  ATC’s policy is for tutors not to personally give their students presents of any kind during the year.  You will have the chance to give them gift books, paid for by ATC and other funders, in early February and in May.

Early February -          

a.  A “gift book," selected by a committee and paid for by ATC and other funders, will be placed in your child’s box (Book Buddies - BB) or folder (Reading Readiness - RR) for you to read to them and then give to them to take home.                                  

b. Book Buddies Coordinators will organize a mid-year gathering of ATC tutors at your school to provide  additional training and time for sharing tutoring tips and student progress.  

May - ATC’s Board of Directors invites you to an end- of- year thank you coffee at Hooray for Books! during which you may pick out $15 worth of books for your student paid for by ATC and other funders.  We ask you to take the book(s) with you, put them in the child’s box (BB) or folder (RR , read them to your student and then give them to the child to take home for their personal libraries.

May - June - Some schools will invite you and, if you accept, have you pick up your student when you get there, to a thank you party.  If you accept an invitation to a thank you party, and we hope you will, please make sure you attend.  Or, some teachers/schools may have  students make  thank you cards for the volunteers who tutor them.  

June - You will be asked and encouraged to fill out an on-line end-of-year Volunteer Survey. 


  • Love of reading, love of children, dependability

Results  In 2013-14, 79% of 105 ACPS first graders who were tutored at least twenty 30-minute sessions during the school year met their grade level literacy benchmarks on the PALS (Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening) test.

86% of students who participated in ATC Book Buddies program as 1st graders and were identified as reading on grade level in spring 2013 were also identified as reading on grade level as 2nd graders on the spring 2014 PALS test.

In 2013-14, 104 kindergartners tutored in four elementary school’s Reading Readiness programs improved their recognition of upper and lower case letters and letter sounds and developed the ability to match a spoken word with the written word. 84% of the 79 kindergartners tutored at Patrick Henry, George Mason and Matthew Maury since early November reached their literacy benchmarks on the PALS test. 60% of 25 kindergartners tutored in a new program at John Adams since March 1 reached theirs.


For more information, please contact Program Director Karen White at the ATC office – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 703-549-6770 ext. 119.  

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