In order to improve reading, business leaders, educators, and community advocates say that training literacy tutors will help close the achievement gap in Minnesota.
The Generation Next collaborative is led by former Minneapolis mayor R. T. Rybak, who says that while there are many volunteers who read to children, they do not have necessary training to have a larger impact on the children’s literacy skills.
“It’s not because people aren’t helping,” Rybak said. “It’s because we are not doing enough to support those who are helping our kids.”
Volunteers are being paired with local literacy groups through “Gen Next Reads”, in order to improve the training that reading tutors receive. There are a dozen groups, including the Minnesota Reading Corps, the East Side Learning Center and St. Paul Public Library.
Minneapolis and St. Paul Schools continue to have one of the nation’s woprst achievement gaps between lower income students and their classmates. Rybak says that those facts are sobering.
“We are not where this community needs to be in literacy. We are not close,” he said.