Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC)?

A: ATC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that recruits and trains volunteers to teach reading to kindergarten and first grade public school students who are struggling in reading.  ATC’s goal is to ensure that all its students read on or above grade level by the end of first grade.  In recruiting tutors and raising funds, ATC partners with the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS), local businesses and community organizations, and Alexandria’s faith community.  Volunteers receive training and weekly lesson plans, and tutor one or two 30- to 45-minute sessions a week during regular school hours.  Tutors report a high level of satisfaction with their tutoring and are proud to be working one-on-one to teach a child to read.

Q: What kind of tutoring does ATC provide?

A: ATC’s “Book Buddies” is a structured, peer-reviewed tutoring program developed at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education.  Students are selected for the program by their classroom teachers. ATC’s staff of professional educators coordinates all aspects of the program, including training tutors and providing them with lesson plans, books, and materials tailored to each student’s reading level. Tutors receive training before they start tutoring and periodic refresher training throughout the school year. 

Q: How is ATC funded?

ATC is funded by a wide variety of donors, including businesses, foundations, and individuals. It takes approximately $1,350 per year to teach one child and we would love your help. You can donate here.

Q: How do I apply to become a tutor?

A: Prospective tutors can click here to fill out a registration form.  Volunteers also must complete an ACPS Volunteer Application, which initiates a background check [#3 select All Elementary Schools, #4 select Tutor (Reading), and #5 type in ATC].  Once that check is completed, the volunteer is ready for training and assignment to a school.  Tutoring begins in late October and concludes in late May, keeping step with the school calendar. Most volunteers tutor for 30-45 minutes twice a week, but some tutor once a week, partnering with a colleague who tutors the second session. On occasions when volunteers are unable to tutor, a colleague tutors for them. Tutoring occurs in the child’s school building between 8:00 a.m. and 2:25 p.m.

Q: How can I tell if I am helping my student? 

A: Each school has a trained reading or literacy professional (the “Coordinator”) who oversees the tutoring program.  The Coordinator writes lesson plans, maintains a dialogue with tutors on how each child is doing, and shares the results of periodic testing that identify areas where the child needs help. Progress can be seen as children read more difficult texts, with tutors a key part of the team contributing to student achievement.

Q: Which schools are served? 

A: For the 2022-2023 school year, ATC is serving first grade students who attend Charles Barrett, Cora Kelly, Ferdinand Day, James Polk, Jefferson-Houston, John Adams, Lyles-Crouch, Mount Vernon, Naomi Brooks, Patrick Henry, Samuel Tucker or William Ramsay elementary schools and also kindergarten students at Cora Kelly and William Ramsay.

 Q: How can I help?

A: Volunteer here! And donate here! For questions or help, please contact Lisa Jacobs, ATC’s Executive Director, at or (703) 549-6670, ext.119.