Preparation in Elementary School: Immokalee Readers

The ability to read is an absolute, fundamental skill necessary to create a brighter future through education. The Immokalee Readers program works to build literacy skills for elementary-aged children who are reading below grade level by providing high school-aged tutors, supervised by certified professional teachers, to help enhance reading skills – and build lasting friendships.

Student Holding first day of school sign

A story of success

Immokalee Readers is an after-school early intervention literacy tutoring program designed to help the lowest-performing young readers by supplementing their regular classroom instruction. The tutors are paid high school students supervised by certified classroom teachers in all five Collier County Public Elementary Schools in Immokalee, as well as a local charter school and an after-school program offered by another nonprofit organization.

High schoolers help the younger students by tutoring them in reading — and there are benefits on both sides of the desk! Because many Immokalee students use other languages at home, the supplemental training in English-language usage at a young age is especially important. Additionally, tutors who have chosen the Education & Human Services Career Pathway are able to use this opportunity as a paid internship with exceptional on-the-job training.

Students In Classroom Working
teacher helping student do work

A happy ending

We have heard from both students and parents about how well the program works. One mother said her son was slow to speak and had fallen behind in reading early in his elementary education. But all of that changed when he began participating in Immokalee Readers. “Now, he comes home and tells me about how he works in a group and how they read together, and he loves to read now,” she said. He also came to regard his tutor as a role model and friend.

Overall, the results are outstanding: 96 percent of the children in Immokalee Readers achieve measurable gains in their reading skills. By helping these students in kindergarten through fifth grade advance their reading skills at a critical age, our tutors are helping to change the future – while they themselves earn an hourly wage and learn valuable career skills.

The Immokalee Foundation is collaborating with RCMA-Immokalee Community School and the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County to implement the Immokalee Readers model for literacy intervention with their students, extending the impact of this outstanding program.

The numbers tell the tale

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Number of Young Readers K-5
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High School Tutors
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Elementary Students Making Academic Gains
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Community Service Hours Completed by Tutors
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Tutors Average GPA
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Hours of early literacy intervention per child
Schools K-5 Tutors Teachers
Eden Park 176 12 10
Highlands 83 21 11
Lake Trafford 201 19 10
Pinecrest 120 30 16
Village Oaks 156 10 12
Boys and Girls Club 17 2 1
Immokalee Community School 35 2 2

Support Immokalee Readers

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you gauge the success of the Immokalee Readers program?

Quarterly, Collier County Public Schools administers reading assessments that evaluates (for younger students) comprehension, phonemic awareness, letter-sound recognition, sight words and vocabulary.

How would you describe literacy concerns in Immokalee as a whole?

The average reading level of a ninth grader is approximately fourth or fifth grade. The first significant test of reading is conducted in third grade, when we typically find that Immokalee students are far behind the average reading level. Immokalee Readers is our response to these findings and early intervention.

How are donations to Immokalee Readers used?

Financial support is used to fund Immokalee Readers students who are matched with high school aged tutors that are trained to provide instructional activities.

How can I get involved?

Volunteers can help mentor the high school tutors and assist in the day-to-day operation of the program. Please contact us at (239) 430-9122 to get involved.

  • "Tutoring for Immokalee Readers is the highlight of my day. I’m so proud of all the gains my students make each year."

    ~ Marilyn, 4th-year tutor.

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