With over 20 years’ experience in corporate communications, Katherine Sopranos currently serves as a management consultant and leadership coach for a multibillion dollar corporation. Katherine Sopranos also donates time and energy to the Working in the Schools (WITS) agency in Chicago.
WITS is dedicated to enhancing elementary students’ interest in reading, using the talents of volunteer literacy mentors. The organization offers several programs to achieve this goal:
– Classroom Reading tutors work one-to-one or in small groups; volunteers’ skills are carefully linked to participating classes.
– Midday Mentoring pairs tutors and second- and third-grade students for the duration of the school year. The tutors help the students shift from “learning to read to reading to learn.”
– WITS on Campus exposes students to college life. Students go to once-a-week sessions at nearby universities, where they work with volunteers on homework and reading activities.
These and other initiatives have proven successful outcomes. WITS students report having better attitudes about reading, including reading at home, which improved to one hour per day, up from 30 minutes. Participants also increased their reading skills by five levels in one year, as opposed to non-participants who only progressed three levels.