Project Reach: Empower Students with Job Skills and Literacy Success

By: | January 6, 2019
District Name: Compton Unified School District
District State: California
District Website:

Students are helping younger students with tutoring in California.

The challenges in Compton Unified are significant: 98 percent of the students are socioeconomically disadvantaged, 35 percent are English language learners, and less than half can read on level by third grade.

The district initiated a partnership with California State University, Dominguez Hills to develop Project Reach, which recruits students to become tutors for the 22 elementary schools.

The district provides professional development and guidance for the tutors, who in turn move from class to class to work with students on alphabetic principles, phonemic awareness, fluency of high-frequency words, and guided reading. Tutors get practical teaching experience. In the end, students learn how to read.

Last fall, kindergarten students recognized an average of only two letters on the Letter Naming Fluency assessment; by winter, it was up to 26. Second-graders went from reading an average of 16 words per minute in September to 38 words by January on the Reading Curriculum Based Management assessment.

In grades 1 and 2, students nearly doubled the number of high-frequency words recognized on average, improving from 34 to 65.