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Help A Child Learn To Read Skip to content

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Help A Child Learn To Read

Nearly 70 percent of Boston elementary school students are not proficient in reading. And, in Fall River and New Bedford, 3,000 students need a literacy mentor – but do not have one. That’s why AARP Massachusetts and Create the Good are joining forces with two Bay State mentoring programs for the upcoming academic year to help children in Greater Boston, Fall River, and New Bedford.

Boston’s Generations Incorporated is an affiliate of Experience Corps, a national program that engages older volunteers as literacy tutors in public school settings; it is one of the largest and most effective programs of this kind in the country. Nearly 350 Experience Corps members currently serve with Generations Incorporated. In 2009, these volunteers provided 75,000 hours of tutoring to more than 2,000 students – who made 60 percent more progress than non-participating students.

SMILES Mentoring is a school-based mentoring program that matches adult volunteers with students in need. In 2009, 58 percent of students attending grades three - 10 in New Bedford Public Schools needed to improve their language skills. SMILES literacy-based programs help these elementary school children read and succeed in school.

How can you help?

Whether you have just a few minutes to spare or are looking to volunteer on a regular basis, you can make a difference.

Donate to these online book drives. In just five minutes and for less than a dollar, you can help a child improve their reading skills by donating a new or gently used book. Choose a book and donate today!

Serve for a day. Join AARP and Generations Incorporated on Tuesday, September 14 from 9:30am-2:30pm at a location in Boston. Volunteers will prepare book folders that serve as “road maps” for literacy tutors as they coach children in Greater Boston schools.

Become an Experience Corps member. Trained volunteers work in teams at Greater Boston schools and after-school programs where they are paired with elementary students who are reading below grade level. Most Experience Corps members meet with a child twice a week in one-on-one tutoring sessions. All volunteers receive significant training.

Generations Incorporated/Experience Corps Info Sessions

Revere: Monday, Sept. 20, 11am-12:30pm
Chelsea: Thursday, Sept 23, 1pm-2:30pm
Dorchester: Tuesday, Sept 28, 10:30am-12pm
South End: Wednesday, Sept. 29, 11am-12:30pm

Become a SMILES literacy mentor. Work individually with your assigned child in a group setting one hour a week during the school day throughout the year. SMILES mentors serve in one of the 27 participating schools across New Bedford and Fall River. A SMILES facilitator is also on-site to help coordinate activities.

Learn more

For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities, including sign up and location information for the Generations Incorporated/Experience Corps info sessions, send AARP Massachusetts an email at or call 1-866-448-3621.

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