The Minnesota Reading Corps is looking to recruit up to 1,000 paid tutors next school year to help students statewide.
The AmeriCorps federal service program is adding almost 300 tutoring positions -- a reflection of the growing demand for literacy help.
The program's goal is to help all students become proficient at reading by the end of third grade, a critical point when students move from "learning to read" to "reading to learn."
"Why we're growing is because people are listening to today's discussion on the achievement gap and they want to make an investment in a program that gets results," said Kathy Saltzman, executive director of the Minnesota's Reading Corps and a similar program for math. "We're getting results."
Statewide, about 80 percent of Reading Corps participants passed Minnesota tests in 2010-11 school year; the group's goal was 78 percent.
Specifically, 3,400 Corps participants passed the test, compared with 2,140 in 2009-2010.
The Reading Corps estimates tutors will be in about 650 schools and preschools next year, up from 487 this year.
The Minnesota Math Corps is also expanding and hopes to recruit an additional 125 tutors.
Many reading and math tutors have some experience in education. Many are former teachers or teachers in training. Others are retirees or professionals who are considering changing careers or who have already done so.
Tutors must commit to 11 months of service. They earn a biweekly allowance of $500 and an education award of up to $5,500. Full-time tutors may also receive health insurance.
Corps officials are accepting applications now and hope to have the positions filled by early August. The screening process takes several weeks and is followed by tutor training, which is to start in mid-August.
Kim McGuire • 612-673-4469