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Storytellers
Literacy Mentor 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 number of 2nd and 3rd-grade students at H.B. Stroud Elementary School who are reading on grade level.

GET STARTED

Fill out our Interest Form today, and a member of our team will reach out to you with next steps!

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Learn more about our program, why it matters, and how you can get involved

PROGRAM RESULTS

Check out the results from our first pilot year or review our Program Dashboard for live progress monitoring. 

CURRENT MENTORS

Currently a mentor? You rock! Explore resources for mentors including calendars, training content, and more.

What is Literacy Mentoring?

Literacy Mentoring is the pairing of a community member with a 2nd or 3rd-grade student for the duration of the school year, with time spent reading and working on reading activities in the classroom.

Research shows that reading with a child for 30 minutes a day astronomically aids in reading proficiency. The goal is to have every student in the program receive a total of 15 hours of one-on-one time with their BFK Literacy mentor over the duration of their school year.

Mentors can choose to support the goal of 15 hours by committing to a regular schedule to visit with their student(s) during their reading block. Literacy Mentors are not asked to stay for the entirety of the reading blocks, rather they are the windows in which mentors are permitted in the classroom to meet for 30 or 60 minutes.

Interested in becoming a Mentor?

We are extremely thankful for our literacy-invested Athens community supporting our program as mentors. Currently, all our Literacy Mentor Spots are filled, but please fill out an interest form and we will reach out as we have a need for more mentors! Questions? Reach out to the Literacy Mentor Program Manager, Colleen Craven, at colleen@booksforkeeps.org.

Program Results

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: 

  • 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.

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

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

  • 92% of students overwhelmingly enjoyed their literacy activities.

  • 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: 

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

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

  • 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: 

 

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. 

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.) 

Live Program Dashboard

Check out this year's Program Dashboard to see what students are working on with their mentors! 

He asked if I was going to be his mentor every week and was excited when I told him, 'Yes!'

Storytellers Mentor

Do you know a future Mentor?

Help us provide 1:1 literacy mentorship to even more students in the 2024-25 school year by sharing about Storytellers with your personal and professional connections through social media, email, and other conversations. We encourage you to refer your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors, (anyone who may be interested!) If you have volunteered as a mentor before, consider sharing what you enjoyed throughout your experience! This work would not be possible without the support of community members like you. Thank you!

Mentor Calendar

(Detailing School holidays, field trips, testing dates, mentor events, BFK events, and more.)

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