Children's Literacy Center

CLC strives to improve the reading skills of an increasing number of children in need of reading assistance across Colorado. Children must master basic reading skills otherwise, they will not keep pace with their school curriculum.

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After School Tutoring




Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Children (4-12 years)
General population
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Single Parents


Working with businesses, schools and families in Colorado, Children's Literacy Center (CLC) utilizes its Peak Reader curriculum to provide one-to-one tutoring for children reading below grade level at no cost to families. The Peak Reader, a proven tool designed by CLC in collaboration with local and national education experts, incorporates a mountain theme as children climb to the peak of their reading abilities. Each kit contains a training video, story-based lessons, hands-on activities, games and writing exercises. In addition, Peak Reader kits are reusable, allowing for greater time, space and cost efficiencies, while maximizing the number of students served. Each lesson in the Peak Reader is based on a specific aspect of the English Language and is aligned with Colorado State Education Standards and National Literacy Strategies. Lessons are progressive in nature and uniform in format, providing the child with a sense of consistency from week to week.
Tutors and children meet twice a week for one hour over a twelve-week semester to work through lessons in the Peak Reader. The tutors not only provide reading exposure and guidance, but they also act as positive role models in helping each child discover the joy of reading and in the process, improving the child's self-esteem. At the end of each session, tutors help their tutee to select books to take home and read during the week. These books are located at the tutoring site and are leveled to mirror the Peak Reader.
Parental involvement is a key component of the Peak Reader program because children who have access to books and read at home are more likely to succeed in school than those whose enrichment is limited to in-school activities. All parents attend a training session where they learn about the Peak Reader curriculum and sign a permission form allowing their child to receive tutoring. Parents are required to provide transportation to and from the tutoring site and to sign their child's Daily Home Reading Record.

Although any child who cannot read is at-risk, we target low-income neighborhoods where the need for no-cost, after school tutoring is greatest. The students served at the Children's Literacy Center represent a 54 percent minority profile and a 74 percent low-income status.Tutoring sites are chosen according to available facilities, opportunities for collaboration with facility owners and the ease of transportation to the facility. Currently, we operate community tutoring sites in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, El Paso, Otero, Pueblo, and Teller counties.


Evidence of Program's Success

Children's Literacy Center has been providing free one to one tutoring to children reading below grade using the Peak Reader Curriculum. Designed in collaboration with local and national educators, the Peak Reader Curriculum is a proactive research-based curriculum and provides structured tutoring, high-quality training and supportive supervision. Trained Children's Literacy Center staff administer assessments at the beginning and end of the semester to gauge the level of learning of each student. From these assessments a customized teaching strategy is developed. The Children's Literacy Center defines success as marked improvement in skills within a grade level or beyond a grade level in decoding, comprehension, and writing. For more than 16,600 children served by the Children's Literacy Center, the following results were achieved: 96 percent of students improved in word lists and 94 percent improved in word recognition in paragraphs.

Survey data provides another method to measure success. Teacher, parent, and tutor input compiled from survey results included comments about the gains achieved in student reading levels and self-esteem. Of the students participating in the Peak Reader program, one hundred percent of parents reported their children benefited from the one-to-one tutoring. In addition, these children's attitudes and confidence about reading increased. One hundred percent of parents also stated they would recommend the program to others. We also measure success as an increase in the numbers of children who receive reading assistance.

Results from a 2003 program evaluation performed by the Pikes Peak Educational Research Center of University of Colorado showed that "students participating in Peak Reader make substantial gains on internally designed measures of reading as well as externally validated assessments. When compared to students with similar reading skills, third-graders who participated in the Peak Reader twelve-week program posted greater mean differences on all three external measures of reading achievement. Tutors and parents are very satisfied with the program. The commitment of the Children's Literacy Center to continually and objectively evaluate the Peak Reader program will continue to result in improved outcomes for participating students."

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