New program helps children read

Reading Partners

Children read aloud at a celebration of a new tutoring program at Hyde Leadership Charter School on Dec. 17.

Students, tutors and teachers celebrated a new tutoring program at Hyde Leadership Charter School in December with an end-of-semester party.

The students showed what they had learned over the course of the semester, reading aloud and singing along to guitar music at the Dec. 17 event for the Reading Partners program.

“I have two expectations here today, that you all respect each other and have fun,” site coordinator Elisabeth Kipp-Giusti told the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

The California-based program was established 15 years ago to help grade school children improve their reading. The initiative expanded to the city three years ago. The group added Hyde to their list of schools served last September.

Volunteer tutors work one-on-one with students whose reading skills are estimated to be between six months and 2 ½ years below grade level.

“The fact that they read out loud to a tutor helps them to build up their confidence, apart from improving their reading skills,” said Kipp-Giusti.

So far, 27 students at Hyde are participating in the program. The group hopes to have 40 students in all by February.

Carline Victorian, who commutes from Westchester once a week to volunteer in the program, is enthusiastic about the new program and a chance to contribute.

“They are intimidated at first, but then they start to feel relaxed,” she said of her students.

Parents and caretakers were also grateful for the progress they saw in their children’s reading skills over the course of the semester.

“She came to me and said: ‘mom, can you sign this paper so I can go to Miss KG’s class?’” said Sandra Figueroa, who had a chance to meet her granddaughter Tatyana’s tutor for the first time at the December event.

Anyone with some spare time is encouraged to sign up to tutor. Locally, volunteers can sign up through The Hunts Point Alliance for Children.

“There is a lot of support from the community,” said Kipp-Giusti.  “To whoever wants it, we will find a way for them to teach and they will learn something.”

For more information about volunteering opportunities, contact: or call (646) 481-3002, or contact the group’s volunteer coordinator Liz Hensler at 917-868-2606 or

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