The Wilkinsburg School District Board of Directors recently approved implementation of the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program in the district. This program, which is offered locally by Literacy Pittsburgh, pairs tutors age 50 and over with students needing extra support in grades kindergarten through fourth grade for weekly sessions during the school day. Volunteer tutors, school district personnel and the Oasis program director work together to help children build reading skills, self-esteem and a positive attitude toward learning.
"We are excited about our partnership with Literacy Pittsburgh and the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program,” said Dr. Linda J. Iverson, Superintendent Wilkinsburg School District. “The program is researched-based and will provide additional intervention support to our second-grade students to help assure that they are reading on grade level during that transition from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ when they matriculate to third grade."
The program will initially be offered in Kelly Elementary. Children must be referred by their teachers. Recruitment of volunteer tutors is underway, and interested volunteers should call 412-393-7648 for dates of the next training sessions.
“We are excited to expand this vital program so that more children can thrive academically,” said Carey Harris, Literacy Pittsburgh Chief Executive Officer. “Literacy Pittsburgh believes strongly in lifelong learning. The Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program supports not only the children enrolled but also the individuals who volunteer.”
Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring is a national program sponsored by the The Oasis Institute, which promotes healthy aging through lifelong learning, active lifestyles and volunteer engagement. Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring was created more than two decades ago, and Literacy Pittsburgh has overseen the program in Allegheny County since 2013. Tutoring is also offered in the Woodland Hills and Pittsburgh Public School Districts. Last year, 162 volunteers tutored 341 children in 29 schools.
“I look forward to working with local businesses, organizations and volunteers in the Wilkinsburg community to make a difference in the lives of children and adults,” said John D. Spehar, Director of the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program in Pittsburgh.
The Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program emphasizes reading and writing skills essential to improving academic performance. Volunteers receive 12 hours of training that emphasizes techniques to draw upon a child’s own experience to create simple stories that form the basis for reading activities. The program taps the tremendous potential of committed volunteers who have the time, patience, and life experience to make a profound difference in the lives of children.
Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped more than 5,100 individuals acquire reading, writing, math, English language, computer and workforce skills so they may reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, English as a second language, basic skills, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction, along with referrals to other family support organizations. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.