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It Takes a Village



What is the "It Takes a Village" Program?

Youth need support during their early-grade years to ensure success in high school and beyond. Through this early-grade reading program, United Way "It Takes a Village" matches volunteer reading mentors with kindergarten students and prepares students to read proficiently by 4th grade. Volunteers tutor up to three students each week during the school day and are encouraged to remain with their students through 3rd grade.

Program Reach:

·         Volunteer reading mentors are matched with the lowest reading students as indicated by kindergarten baseline data

·         Reading mentors may tutor up to three students weekly for 20 minutes each during the school day in the classroom or other designated areas within the school

·         Each year new volunteers are recruited, trained, and matched with incoming kindergarten students

To volunteer to be a Reading Mentor, go to and start your registration. Individuals will need to complete a background check and register for volunteer opportunites as they become available on the Non-profit Thrive website. 


Current Program Locations (for Rock River Valley United Way)


Harlem School District #122: Donald C. Parker Early Education Center, Loves Park, Machesney, Maple, Marquette, Olson Park, Rock Cut, Windsor

Oregon Community Unit District #220: Oregon

Rockford Public Schools District #205: Beyer, Ellis, Hillman, King, Kishwaukee, Lathrop, Lewis Lemon, West View, Whitehead


Community Sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Winnebago County

Outcomes 2013-2014

400 Kindergarten through Second Grade students were matched with an iREAD mentor

Kindergarten Students (Letter Identification) 

·         Pre-Test Proficiency: 30%

·         Post-Test Proficiency: 100%   

Results: Harlem School District #122


First Grade Students (Letter Sounds) 

·         Pre-Test Proficiency: 12%

·         Post-Test Proficiency: 97%

Results: Harlem School District #122


Teacher Survey (Mentor Relationship) 

·         95% of teachers surveyed agreed that the consistent mentoring relationship had a positive impact on a student's academic and emotional development

·         Post-Test Proficiency: 100%

Results: Harlem School District #122 and Rockford Public Schools District #205