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There is an urgent need for tutoring in Baltimore City

There is an urgent need for tutoring in Baltimore City.

Kalman Hettleman has accurately identified a critical need to improve struggling schools in Baltimore City and beyond: tutoring for young children who fall behind ("Strange bedfellows on school reform," Jan. 8).

The Brown Memorial Tutoring Program has been working with young students in Baltimore City public schools for more than 50 years, and the need is enormous. The students we tutor have fallen far behind in learning how to read. Even second or third graders are already lagging a year or more behind.

Research makes plain that students who cannot read well by third grade are much more likely to struggle and fail in later grades.

We partner with three schools with hard-working teachers and staff, but they generally lack the time or resources to work one-on-one with students struggling to read. Our hands-on program helps students catch up, but we are able to serve only so many students a year.

While the debate over such things as Common Core is important, we should all go back to the basics and commit new resources to helping children read and get off to the right start in school.

Tom Waldron, Baltimore

The writer is chair of the Brown Memorial Tutoring Program.

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