Based upon our work in the Village Project, we have learned that the plight of struggling readers, especially those who are poor, is not a hopeless one. We know from our Village research that when provided with specific support such as, university-based partnerships, one-on-one tutoring, community support, underlying reasons for their childrens’ reading struggles and ways for mitigating those struggles, parents of struggling readers respond positively and work diligently to help their children improve their reading skills.
We also know that struggling readers often do not enjoy tutoring projects because it focuses on their major area of weakness, reading. So, it is not surprising that struggling students often feel they do not belong in schools or tutoring programs. However, the Village Project, with its emphasis on diagnosing students’ specific reading needs, with one-to-one instruction to address those needs, and with parental support in a non-threatening environment, there have been positive results for reading motivation among “Village Readers.” The Village project is free for all participants and has been funded by an international philanthropic organization, The Oak Foundation. The project has been replicated at two additional Schools of Education, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Concordia University in Portland, Ore.