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Small Groups Make a Big Impact!

Abt Associates, AARP Foundation Experience Corps and the AmeriCorps program selected ECBA as an observation site for continued research on the viability of the small group model of 2 to 4 students, versus our traditional 1:1 tutoring model. Tutors working with small groups must be prepared to engage students with different reading levels and personalities without compromising the quality of the tutoring session. The good news is that after interviewing several teachers, tutors and a principal at Manzanita Community School, the observation team shared that:

  •  ECBA’s small-group pilot is working very well so far and that ECBA is well positioned to extend the model into our other school partnerships.
  • There are two key components supporting the success of our small-group pilot: high-quality training and the size and longevity of our program.
  • The benefits of adopting a small-group model include the ability to serve more students, as well as the peer-to-peer learning that occurs when students have the opportunity to receive focused literacy support at the same time.

This encouragement for expanding our reach through small-group tutoring is great news in light of the depth of the literacy crisis in the Bay Area. With fewer than 40% of K-3 public school students reading at grade level, we need to do all we can to maximize our impact. If each of our 200+ volunteers can serve just one or two additional students each year through small-group work, we will double or triple the number of lives we change through early literacy support!

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