‘All hands on deck’ to close widening reading gaps in elementary schools

By: | June 17, 2022

Third-grader Xavier leaves his regular classroom twice a week to meet with Dave Wilkie. Wilkie’s a 78-year-old retired machinist and Vietnam vet with some free time on his hands. Xavier is an 8-year-old born in Haiti who’s bursting with energy.

The unlikely pair, matched by the Boston nonprofit Literations, meet in a sunny classroom at Framingham’s Miriam F. McCarthy Elementary School for one reason: to read together.

Studies have shown that children are behind on their reading, and gaps predating the pandemic have only widened for Black and brown students, English learners and students with disabilities. But teachers don’t always have the time to work with students one-on-one, and many parents are busy and burnt out from pandemic reshuffling. To try to fill the gap, nonprofits are creating new and innovative programs to help kids catch up.

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