NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Michigan's Reading Experiment

September 20, 1996

Faced with lousy reading scores among school children, some Michigan schools hired a private corporation to train volunteer tutors and operate a remedial reading program. The program has been so successful that it is being taken statewide.

  • More than half of Michigan fourth-graders and six-in-ten seventh-graders have been rated as unsatisfactory readers in state tests.
  • To attack the problem, over 100 schools developed community tutoring programs under contract with the HOSTS Corp. of Vancouver, Washington.
  • The firm trains volunteers and establishes a structured tutorial program using personalized, computer-generated learning plans.
  • Volunteers typically devote an hour a week, working with the same child for a semester or longer.

In Muskegon, 83 percent of students participating achieved more than a full year's gain in reading during the first four months of the program.

Major Michigan corporations have committed themselves to the campaign, frequently offering time off to employees who choose to spend an hour a week helping a student.

Source: Robert Lutz (Chrysler Corp. president) and Clark Durant (Michigan Board of Education president), "The Key to Better Schools," Wall Street Journal, Friday, September 20, 1996.


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