The Inspired Youth Tutoring Program helps elementary and and high school students with school homework and extra reading, writing, and arithmetic during the academic year. For locations, dates, and times, please refer to the Calendar.
Most of the children in the program attend Goudy Elementary School, which was featured May 1988 in a week-long series in the Chicago Tribune about the woes of the Chicago Public Schools. Some of the children are referred by teachers at Goudy, but most hear about the program from friends. We develop the children’s basic reading and math skills and supplement their classroom activities.
Our greatest emphasis is reading since it is the foundation of all education. To develop reading skills, we utilize a variety of materials, including worksheets, basal readers, and graded picture books that encourage discussion between tutors and students. Tutors also focus on reading skills as they help with social studies and science homework, and students are encouraged to make use of the library's resources and report on books there.
We encourage students to write in almost every session. The children enthusiastically write stories for our magazines, which are published several times each year. The magazines have become a source of pride for not only the students, but also their parents and school teachers.
Since September 1994, we have taught methods of conflict resolution, encouraging students to resolve conflict non-violently through practice. We discuss themes in selected stories, talk about concepts using worksheets and group discussion, and do role plays.
The leaders of the program have had over 20 years of experience, and we have observed children showing significant gains in schoolwork, basic skills, self-confidence, and attitudes toward their studies. Some improve faster in the standardized tests than the national rate.
- Five students who had all failed in school were promoted to gifted classes after 1-2 years in our program. One of them began school in all-Spanish first grade classes and was transferred to gifted all-English classes after only a year.
- One student went from 6 F's on his fifth grade report card to 1 F after 10 weeks with us.
- Another student initially hid under the table when she started coming to the Saturday program as a repeat first-grader, but passed into second grade after regular tutoring. At the end of second grade she scored above a fourth grade reading level on the Iowa Tests.
- A student's desk faced backward, toward the wall, at school. He refused to do math, refused to write, and could barely read. After a year in our program he began doing his schoolwork and was part of the class.