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2022-23 Literacy Mentor Program Results

2022/23 Literacy Mentor Program Results

Program data & reflections from Year 1 Pilot Program

We are excited to share results from our first year of the 2022-23 BFK Literacy Mentor Program, developed in partnership with Creature Comforts’ Get Comfortable Campaign. During the 2022-23 school year, 55 volunteer mentors contributed nearly 717 hours of one-on-one mentoring sessions for 54 students in 2nd-3rd grade at Howard B. Stroud Elementary. Thanks to our committed mentors and funding support from Get Comfortable, students received free, individualized literacy support every week from September through May. Collectively, students and mentors read 2,903 books together this school year! 

Program highlights: 

  1. Students matched with mentors are showing 3.4 times the growth in reading proficiency over the course of the year compared to their non-matched peers.

  2. 97% of the time, teachers felt confident this program had a positive impact on students. 

  3. 92% of mentors enjoyed their visits and observed growth in their students’ literacy skills.

  4. 92% of students overwhelmingly enjoyed their literacy activities.

  5. 95% of books on the BFK Bookshelf received 4 or 5 starred reviews from students. 

A huge congratulations to all of our 2022/23 H.B. Stroud Superstar students, and thank you to our incredible volunteer mentors, financial supporters, and school staff involved in this progress!

About the pilot program: 

The BFK Literacy Mentor Program partners with Creature Comforts Brewing Company’s Get Comfortable program and Clarke County School District to engage the community in creating excitement around reading and forming supportive relationships to collectively help increase the 3rd grade reading proficiency rate in Athens-Clarke County from 20% to 60% by 2027. 2nd and 3rd grade students participating in the program are matched with volunteer mentors for an additional hour of individualized literacy practice each week for an entire school year. Students and mentors meet at Stroud for 30-minute sessions twice weekly to read together, play literacy games, and reflect on progress. The program completed its first of two pilot years in 2022-23 at Howard B. Stroud Elementary with goals to expand to additional Clarke County elementary schools each year pending program results, volunteer engagement, and funding support. 

About the results: 

Dr. Grace Bagwell-Adams of the University of Georgia and Athens Wellbeing Project is leading a two-year RTI (Response to Intervention) evaluation to measure program impact on student reading performance compared to existing intervention efforts. The research methods are designed to yield confidence in the program’s results and to inform future expansion plans. In partnership with CCSD, evaluators leveraged iReady data, which is an assessment administered 3x a school year and measures 6 components of literacy. Results are reported through a scaled score that measures reading performance into the following categories: “2 or more grade levels below”, “1 grade level below,” “on level,” and “above grade level.” Evaluators tracked this data for the 54 students matched with mentors at H.B. Stroud as well as 287 non-matched students across Stroud Elementary and 2 control schools. Evaluators measured level change at student, classroom, grade, and school levels and reported results controlling for school, ethnicity, race, and biological sex. The initial controlled findings showed the following: 

  1. Statistically significant and large-scale increase for on-level reading for Stroud versus treatment schools.

  2. Mentor matched students are doing better than overall H.B. Stroud estimates.

  3. Inter- and intra-school estimates are robust to stratification. (No matter how we slice the data, matched students have better outcomes.)

After reviewing this evaluation data alongside ongoing attendance, session, and mentor data collected daily, Dr. Bagwell-Adams reported the following: 

  1. Significant improvement in literacy outcomes has been achieved at all 3 schools. District-led intervention initiatives are effective thanks to the tireless efforts of our students, teachers, and school leaders. 

  2. The literacy mentor program is working & the results are astounding. Students matched with mentors are progressing across reading grade levels at unprecedented rates while enrolled in the program (see tables below for detailed change rates.) 

  3. We are very confident that these results are due to the intervention. The evaluation was designed to enable control for external factors across the data. 

Descriptive statistics show a 136% increase in iReady performance at on grade level and above within the control group and a 629% increase within students receiving Literacy Mentor intervention. 

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