Hickory – Students from low income families typically lose up to three months of reading gains over the summer. Known as the summer slide, this gap accounts for nearly two-thirds of the high school achievement gap between low income students and their peers from middle-class and wealthy families. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, students will have an unprecedented five months away from classroom instruction, leaving many educators concerned about reading skills loss.

One nonprofit in the community is actively providing individualized reading instruction online to struggling readers from low income families. Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center tutors are continuing to provide lessons through the Augustine Literacy Project online through Zoom. Several of the students will meet with their tutors twice each week throughout the summer. These children are increasing their skills in reading and writing.

The staff of Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center made the decision to begin online tutoring in early April due to COVID-19 school closures. The volunteer tutors and students have quickly adjusted to the new technology. With the uncertainty about whether students will return to school in August or whether volunteers will be allowed in schools, the agency’s staff believes this online tutoring will allow them to advance their mission of empowering struggling readers no matter what next school year holds.

Executive Director Angela Lawrence commented, “No one can predict right now whether students will spend more time learning remotely or in the classroom. We are confident that we have found a way to continue to provide individualized reading instruction to the students who need it most while protecting the health of our students and volunteer tutors. We look forward to bringing more of our Augustine Literacy Project students online for tutoring in the fall.”

Lawrence continued, “Without the support of the Catawba County United Way and many individuals, we would not be able to continue to help striving readers online. We are so thankful for their generosity.” To learn more about how to become a tutor or support the work of Augustine Literacy Project, visit http://patrickbeaverlrc.org or email [email protected].
Patrick Beaver’s online tutoring