Early literacy program seeks UWM student tutors

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) students looking for an opportunity to tutor young people and earn some money can apply to the SPARK Early Literacy Program. SPARK – Spheres of Proud Achievement in Reading for Kids – is a collaboration among UWM’s School of Education, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and AmeriCorps.

SPARK tutors work one-on-one with struggling readers in grades K5-3 at one of 10 Milwaukee Public Schools located throughout the city. Tutors work 13-15 hours a week with the same students, at the same school, from September to June.

Tutors must be available during the school day, three days a week, for four to five hours at a time. SPARK tutors are AmeriCorps members, and are providing national service. They receive a living allowance during service, and an education award when they complete the term.

The tutoring is important, according to the Boys & Girls Clubs, because reading is such a vital skill. Students who fail to reach grade level in reading by the time they finish third grade have a significantly more difficult time catching up to their peers as they get older.

Ruth Short, associate professor of education at UWM, works with the Boys & Girls Clubs on training and curriculum for tutors.

Anyone interested in becoming a SPARK tutor will be invited to attend an information session after completing the online application found at www.boysgirlsclubs.org/SPARK.aspx. Please send any questions about the SPARK program to SPARK@boysgirlsclubs.org.