Column: Volunteer as Literacy Tutor

Column: Volunteer as Literacy Tutor

32 Alexandria kindergarteners and first graders still in need of tutors.

In just a few short weeks in October, 93 eager Alexandria City Public School kindergarten and first grade students will meet their one-on-one literacy tutor for the year. These students, at risk of falling behind their peers in their literacy skills, will receive individual attention twice a week until May from their designated tutor. However, 32 students who also need one-on-one tutoring will have to wait to find their tutor because not enough volunteers have signed up yet for this year.

Are you on the fence about volunteering? Tutoring is a big commitment, but it is extremely doable. Volunteers come from all walks of life and tutor for various reasons. One volunteer, Mike Mackey, was on the fence as well. For years, he had considered tutoring but always managed to talk himself out of the commitment. Reasons included a busy schedule, not knowing the right program, or whether or not his abilities were up to par. One year, he found the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium. Taking a leap, he signed up to tutor with the consortium, and after receiving an orientation and training, was paired with a first grader at Jefferson-Houston Elementary school for the year.

That October, Mike went to Jefferson-Houston for the first time to meet his student. Looking back at the experience, Mike remembered “this adorable little boy sheepishly came forward to meet me — stone faced. The teacher made introductions and he looked up to the top of my 6'4” head, wondering who I was — and was still not smiling. Then, I crouched down, introduced myself and was greeted with the biggest smile in the world.” From that point, Mike knew he made a great decision in volunteering as a literacy tutor with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium.

Although tutoring is a big commitment, the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium offers great flexibility with their program. Our volunteer, Mike, “was able to easily negotiate the time each week with [his] schedule, was able to reschedule when needed, and was trained and supported well.” Volunteers commit to tutoring their student for one hour a week at their school. The consortium has programs at 10 ACPS elementary schools, so volunteers can choose which school is convenient to them.

Just imagine — in a few short weeks, you could be on your way to meet your student for the first time. We still need tutors for 32 ACPS kindergarten and first graders. All you need to do is sign up to volunteer. Take the same leap that Mike did by going to and enter ‘tutor’ in the search engine.

If you have any questions about volunteering, please contact Volunteer Alexandria at 703-836-2176.