The program goal is to improve the literacy skills and reading comprehension of 4,450 students in Grades 2-12 in five low-income South Phoenix schools (the target population and geographical area served). The student demographics are approximately 80% Hispanic, 12% African American, 2% Asian, 1% American Indian and 5% Caucasian. On average, 85% of the students qualify for the Federal Free/Reduced Lunch Program. The program activities include:

1. Having Elevate Phoenix's teacher-mentors work with teachers to teach Arizona Department of Education standards-compliant academic reading curriculum to high school students.

2. Having the teacher-mentors tutor students at lunch and after school.

3. Training high school students to serve as peer teachers to conduct a reading program and rallies for elementary students using character, life skills and civics awareness curriculum.

4. Giving students free 24/7 access to 8,000+ digital books through MyOn Reader (a web-based, literacy environment for students), which matches vetted titles with student reading levels and interests, generates a recommended list of e-books, and tracks students' reading improvements. We also conduct summer reading activities for hundreds of youth. The Reading Program meets the need above by providing programming that is proven to improve urban, at-risk students' literacy skills and comprehension, improve their Lexile scores, and keep thousands of youth in school through graduation. Elevate Phoenix delivers the program in and out of school through a reading curriculum, classroom education, mentoring and a kid-friendly digital reading library. All students receive 24/7 access to Capstone Publishing's MyOn Reader, which is a “library” of 8,000+ books that youth love to read. The MyOn Reader e-books include hundreds of topics that interest the students, including sports, mysteries, biographies, technology, history and current cultural issues. Students can access MyOn Reader using an electronic device (i.e. Smartphone, Kindle, etc.). We also conduct teacher training and parent literacy education on MyOn’s evaluation tools that measure the number of books each student is reading and the improvements in their skills and comprehension. In addition, students also receive mentoring and tutoring from our teacher-mentors, which is one of the keys to the program’s success. No other program uses teacher-mentors in the classroom to teach reading curriculum and tutor students outside the classrooms. The one-on-one help and 24/7 assistance (i.e. help with a bully, a problem at home, etc.) that students receive motivates them, improves their literacy skills, keeps them in school and gives them a mentor from their own community who overcame the same challenges the students face to stay in school and go to college. Since most of our students had no sibling or parent graduate high school, having a teacher-mentor who did helps them envision a brighter future for themselves, which motivates them to stay in school.
 

Over the past year, Elevate Phoenix assisted 3,700 students through its Reading Program and related literacy activities that included reading activities and contests, students served in its summer reading and activity programs that began with the Summer School Program and high school students who received tutoring assistance in reading and who used MyOn Reader to improve their reading skills. The students read 17,224 books, spending 3,464 hours reading. All of the students improved their reading skills and Lexile scores by at least 10% -- many increased it by much more than that. In fact, the third graders raised their scores by 57-83%!