Meet Readers 2 Leaders, an organization with a mission to develop and grow the reading skills of underserved Dallas children ages 3-12 so they can succeed in school and graduate prepared to live productive lives. Readers 2 Leaders also has a specialized coaching program designed to increase the literacy knowledge and skills of the caring adults that work with children through side by side coaching with staff at their partner sites.
Sarah Lewis, the coaching director at Readers 2 Leaders, works on curriculum development and different ways to reach educators and provide the essential follow-through that comes from coaching. Sarah has a history of working in the literary field and wanted to join the Readers 2 Leaders due to their unique initiatives like the coaching program. “I believe the dosage, high-quality programming, and connection between one student and one reading buddy throughout the year differentiates Readers 2 Leaders,” says Sarah.
One of the most significant challenges Readers 2 Leaders faces right now is turning their in-person work curriculum into a virtual curriculum. Due to this change, they plan to pilot an online cohort model with participants from Teach for America and Uplift Pinnacle.
To further address this challenge, Readers 2 Leaders applied to the Together for Tomorrow program to expand their understanding of online learning. They are hoping to begin, “Learning from others and digging deeper into online learning and how to do it better and make it fun,” says Sarah.
For her specific challenge area, Sarah is currently exploring the “testable elements” of her ideas to ensure the virtual training participants can build strong connections with the coaches and one another, as well as considering how to bring virtual training supports to parents and other non-school-based childcare providers.
Through the TFT cohort, Sarah is hoping to gain “a bigger view of what is out there and what other people or organizations are doing [and] to make connections with other people in the nonprofit arena.” So far, Sarah shared that she has learned an excellent structure for digging deeper into challenges and isolating individual components to tackle.
To learn more about the great work of Readers to Leaders, check out their website readers2leaders.org.