‘Readers 2 Leaders' Pivots to Interactive, Online Lessons for Childhood Literacy

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Readers 2 Leaders is a Dallas-based, literacy nonprofit that primarily serves kindergarten through fifth-grade students. They provide in-school tutoring, summer camps and training and support for adults who want to help a child learn how to read.

“There are about 93,000 Kindergarten through third-grade students who are now behind in reading in Dallas County,” Norma Nelson, President and CEO of Readers 2 Leaders said. “It’s so many kids who don’t have the skills that they need. This is a literacy crisis in our community and we have to do everything we can particularly during this time of the pandemic when kids need extra support.

Like many organizations this year, Readers 2 Leaders has had to revamp the way their entire program runs.

“We have had to change a lot, because of COVID-19. It has also been exciting because it has given us a chance to provide high quality, online learning for parents to show their students,” Nelson said. “We have been able to reach families we otherwise would not have reached.”

Readers 2 Leaders is made up of hundreds of volunteers and a handful of employees who never thought they would become video editors, but he pandemic has forced them to adapt and learn, just like the children they teach.

That adaption gave birth to their “Read, Learn, Go!” It's a two hour, educational show hosted by Readers 2 Leaders teachers.

“What we really wanted to do was bring high-quality education to kids that was safe. So not only when a parent goes on our channel do they know this is literacy-based, but it’s also educational. They know the person teaching it is an adult educator. Many of us are teachers from the classroom and we have actually vetted this material and we know that this is high-quality material,” Nelson said.

The Readers 2 Leaders instructors even conduct interactive lessons with the students online with minimal supplies needed, as the books are already online.

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