The Children’s Literacy Center (CLC) began as a Junior League project in 1991 and has since evolved into a statewide effort to “build a life of success for children through a foundation of literacy….one child at a time” CLC provides one-to-one tutoring and curriculum materials to more than 600 under-performing youth and their families annually. Beginning with one location and sixty-two children in 1993, volunteers continue to tutor using the Peak Reader curriculum at 15 sites in Colorado.
Working with businesses, schools and families in Colorado, the Children’s Literacy Center utilizes its Peak Reader curriculum to provide one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level at no cost to families. The Peak Reader, a proven tool designed by CLC in collaboration with local and national education experts, incorporates a mountain theme as children climb to the peak of their reading abilities. Each kit contains a training video, story-based lessons, hands-on activities, games and writing exercises. In addition, Peak Reader kits are reusable, allowing for greater time, space and cost efficiencies, while maximizing the number of students served. Each lesson in the Peak Reader is based on a specific aspect of the English Language and is aligned with Colorado State Education Standards and National Literacy Strategies. Lessons are progressive in nature and uniform in format, providing the child with a sense of consistency from week to week.
Tutors and children meet twice a week for one hour over a twelve-week semester to work through lessons in the Peak Reader. The tutors not only provide reading exposure and guidance, but they also act as positive role models in helping each child discover the joy of reading and in the process, improving the child’s self-esteem.
Parental involvement is a key component of the Peak Reader program because children who have access to books and read at home are more likely to succeed in school than those whose enrichment is limited to in-school activities. All parents attend a training session where they learn about the Peak Reader curriculum and sign a permission form allowing their child to receive tutoring. Parents are required to provide transportation to and from the tutoring site and to read with their children daily.
Although any child who cannot read is at-risk, CLC targets under-performing neighborhoods where the need for no-cost, after school tutoring is greatest. Tutoring sites are chosen according to available facilities, opportunities for collaboration with facility owners and the ease of transportation to the facility. Currently, CLC operates community tutoring sites in Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fountain, La Junta, Monument, Pueblo, and Woodland Park.