two children reading together
(Photo/Flickr user Carissa Rogers CC BY 2.0)

Jewish Coalition for Literacy schedules new training sessions

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The Jewish Coalition for Literacy is seeking volunteer reading tutors to assist underserved children. Training sessions will be held in April and May in San Francisco, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Foster City and Redwood City.

Tutors work one-on-one or in small groups to help augment reading and language skills among at-risk students in kindergarten through third grade. Volunteers are not required to have experience but must attend the three-hour orientation and training session.

According to the JCL, 72 percent of California’s public school students who complete third grade fail to meet national literacy standards — and that number jumps to 89 percent in low-income communities. After working with JCL tutors, students have shown an average gain of one year’s reading growth. In 2015-16, volunteers helped more than 1,000 students and coached 212 parents — many who spoke limited English — on how to assist with literacy at home.

JCL was founded in 1997 by veteran Jewish activist Leonard Fein. It started with a pilot program in Boston and the Bay Area chapter was launched in 1999. Each year about 350 people volunteer as tutors in the Bay Area, and more than two-thirds return.

Training sessions will be held in San Francisco from 1 to 4 p.m. April 4 and 25, on the Peninsula April 20 and May 4, and in the East Bay April 19 and May 15. Register online at or call one of the regional offices: San Francisco at (415) 977-7436, East Bay at (510) 809-4904, and the Peninsula at (415) 977-7439.