BUILD COMMUNITIES EMPOWER READERS
Our WITS literacy mentors make up the largest volunteer corps serving Chicago Public Schools elementary students. Every year through eight program models, our volunteers connect with students over stories and activities, empowering them to ask questions, raise their hand in class, and discover new interests. Our volunteers are committed to the long-term success of their student, and invested in the school community where they serve. Most importantly, our volunteers believe deeply in their students and the power of reading.
GOOD MORNING MENTORS
Volunteers who can give time during the school day may be interested in our Classroom Reading Tutor or WITS Kindergarten programs. These programs usually take place in the morning and vary in time from two to four hours and from one to four days per week. These volunteers have the unique experience of building relationships with teachers and classrooms – they often become familiar faces in the whole school.
Volunteers who want to read together as a company, college, or social group may be a good fit for our Mid-Day Mentoring, Workplace Mentoring, or WITS on Campus programs. You can find out if your company is already one of our program partners here. Each program is facilitated by a WITS staff member and involves a weekly or every other week commitment from October through May. These programs provide a great way to build community within an office or network while sharing the power of reading with an elementary school student. Workplace Mentoring students travel to meet their mentors at their office or university. In our Mid-Day Mentoring program, teams of volunteers travel on a school bus to meet their students at their school.
SCHOOL'S OUT VOLUNTEERS
Literacy never takes a vacation—so neither does WITS. Volunteers who would like to read over the weekend or during school vacation may be interested in our WITS on the Weekend or WITSummer Early Childhood Programs. Each program is facilitated by a WITS staff member and volunteers support students in a fun way during out-of-school hours.
• WITS on the Weekend brings volunteers and students together in teams for two hours on select Saturdays throughout the school year.
• WITSummer Early Childhood volunteers read with students for two hours, once a week, for the six weeks of CPS summer school.
MORE ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS
CLASSROOM READING TUTORS (CRT)
The CRT program aims to build and influential relationship between volunteer and Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardee that influences the culture of the classroom throughout the school year. Volunteers work with a teacher to support literacy goals, with each volunteer’s service tailored to the needs of the class. Classroom Reading Tutors often work with small groups or one-on-one with students.
The WITS Kindergarten program develops trusting and influential relationships between adult and student with the intention of developing the mind-set for learning at an important developmental age. Kindergarten students spend time reading with a consistent volunteer each week to build book print awareness and early literacy skills over the course of the school year.
MID-DAY MENTORING (MDM)
MDM focuses on third grade literacy. At this point students make the cognitive transition from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn. Volunteers travel to the school and are paired with the same second or third grade student for an entire school year. Volunteer/student pairs spend time reading aloud and building comprehension skills through conversation.
WORKPLACE MENTORING (WPM)
WPM has brought students from fourth through eighth grade to the offices of our corporate partners for one-on-one literacy mentorship. WITS busses a group of elementary school students to a corporate office, where volunteer/student pairs spend one hour each week completing activities, reading, and working on homework, exposing students to the workings of a corporate office.
WITS ON CAMPUS (WOC)
WOC is a one-on-one reading and mentoring program that takes place in the late afternoon at local universities. Weekly, WITS transports students to the university, where each student is paired with the same university student, faculty or staff member for a whole school year. Volunteer pairs read, complete activities and work on homework – encouraging students to explore university life.
WITS ON THE WEEKEND (WOW)
WITS on the Weekend is a Saturday mentoring program for volunteers located at a CPS school. Volunteers engage student interests by encouraging children to explore learning and literacy beyond the classroom. STEAM curriculum is the primary focus, while reinforcing reading attitudes.
WITSUMMER EARLY CHILDHOOD
The WITSummer Early Childhood program prepares students to enter kindergarten or first grade during the preceding summer. The intensive classroom experience for students includes a morning meeting, a read-aloud with a focus comprehension skill, followed by extensions in four literacy centers. Launched in 2013, the program is run by a Rochelle Lee Teacher Awardee supported by a WITS Program Coordinator, along with four to eight volunteers who can work with students on an individual basis.
WITSUMMER IN THE PARKS
The Parks program is modeled after Mid-Day Mentoring and keep students engaged in reading during summer break. WITSummer in the Parks is a recognized program of the Chicago City of Learning initiative and is in partnership with Rahm’s Readers.