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 or small group tutoring, community support, underlying reasons for their children’s 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 students’ specific reading needs, one-to-one or small group instruction to address those needs, and parental support in a non-threatening environment, has seen 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.