During the pandemic, the number of Phoenix students passing their third grade reading assessment declined to 25 percent—the lowest score in seven years. Approximately 13,000 Phoenix third graders are not reading at grade level. The pandemic has led to a “COVID-19 slide” learning loss, further widening the gap between student achievement and grade level standards in literacy, particularly in low-income communities.

Experience Corps Phoenix in partnership with AARP Foundation ​Experience Corps ​trains volunteer tutors aged 50 and older to help children become proficient readers by the time they finish third grade. The program taps into the experience and passion of older Arizonians to ensure that every child has a chance to succeed in school and in life. And it’s working. Ninety-seven percent of the students who receive one-to-one coaching with the City of Phoenix AARP Foundation Experience Corps Phoenix have shown gains in critical literacy skills.

In 2019, 114 volunteers served in 13 local Phoenix schools—but more are needed. To learn about volunteering with the City of Phoenix AARP Foundation Experience Corps program, residents are encouraged to sign up for one of the upcoming virtual information sessions. All sessions are on Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on the following dates: May 4 and 18, June 15 and 29, July 13 and 27, Aug. 10 and 24, Sept. 7 and 21, as well as October 5 and 26.

Visit phoenix.gov/education/experience or email ecphx@phoenix.gov for more information.