Kingdom House received a $200,000 grant from the Tilles Foundation to bring professionally-trained tutors to provide one-on-one tutoring sessions with students participating in afterschool programs. This two-year grant allows Kingdom House to work with tutors from the St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) to help their scholars develop a life-long love of learning.

Many of Kingdom House’s students struggle with basic reading comprehension and need professional tutoring to enable reading at grade level. Twice weekly sessions throughout the school year help students keep pace with schoolwork, capitalize on each student’s strengths and overcome reading and writing difficulties to keep them from falling behind. Their goal is to boost children’s motivation to read and generate positive attitudes toward learning.

Kingdom House is working with elementary-age scholars who have been identified by low reading scores based on EasyCBM testing measures and school report cards. Currently, 18 students are receiving twice weekly one-on-one tutoring sessions. To ensure students can attend these sessions, transportation is provided from many of the area schools.

Students are already achieving success. One of the tutors shared that a scholar told her that he received an 89% on his spelling test. It was the first time he’d ever gotten a score that high. They had not expected to see such tremendous results after only two months of programming.

The tutoring staff is composed of certified special educators and speech and language specialists, who are matched with students based on the child’s specific strengths and vulnerabilities. Aside from the homework support included in each session, LDA also has special educational resources to focus on multiple areas of assistance, including speech/language, reading/decoding, articulation, structure with writing, math and organizational skills. Older elementary students are also given specific skills to get the most out of their textbooks, take good notes in class, study independently and perform well on tests.

Families in the Kingdom House community lack the financial resources and transportation required to access the resources for professional support when their children are struggling. Approximately 79% of the families obtaining services at Kingdom House had household incomes below the federal poverty level for a family of four at $24,300. Fewer than 30% of the children in their neighborhood school and 38% of their after school children are reading at grade level. The typical model of an after school program is not providing the tools to overcome this issue. Many of the children at Kingdom House have learning disabilities or other undiagnosed learning challenges. These children often do not receive the special education strategies that help them learn and stay at their expected reading levels.

Children from higher income families have access to the reading specialists and services lower income children do not. No other agency is providing these professional resources for the children in this low income community. These resources create equity, increase academic success and guarantee future economic mobility for these children.

 Kingdom House is looking forward seeing the progress of their students during the pilot phase of the program for the first two academic years with support from the Tilles Foundation.

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