Augustine Literacy Project

Charlotte, NC


60% of students are not reading on grade level at the end of third grade in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. For low-income students, this figure is 78%.


Augustine Literacy Project provides consistent, intensive one-on-one literacy instruction to low-income 1st and 2nd graders who struggle with reading.


Highly trained volunteer tutors are critical to Augustine Literacy Project. Tutors receive 42+ hours of training on reading instruction and 20 hours of practica under a coach’s supervision. The intensive training differentiates Augustine from other tutoring programs in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Augustine tutors commit to instructing a struggling reader one-on-one, twice a week for 45 minutes. In the 2019-20 school year, 215 1st and 2nd grade students were tutored through Augustine in 23 CMS schools.

“There is a unique trust that develops between tutors and students, and, while tutors commit to a minimum of 60 tutoring sessions with each student, it is not unusual for a tutor to continue volunteering with a student long after their commitment is fulfilled,” said Executive Director Alison Houser.

Because of the one-on-one nature of the program, Augustine tutors tailor material to each student’s unique needs and ability. “Students are able to make mistakes without ridicule in the one-on-one tutoring sessions and experience confidence in reading. Our tutors focus on literacy, but oftentimes advocate for additional resources on behalf of the child,” said Houser.

Augustine implements the Orton-Gilligham approach of sequential, systematic teaching of reading, writing and spelling skills. Tutoring sessions incorporate phonics, vocabulary and comprehension, among other literacy competencies. “This is really a hands-on approach to literacy and goes beyond just reading with a student,” added Houser.

Since 2015, The Belk Foundation has invested $393,000 in Augustine Literacy Project.