supporting Cambridge public school students

Elementary Programs (Annual Report 2015)

The elementary school programs of Cambridge School Volunteers, which focus on math and literacy, are as vital today as they were in 1966, when our organization was founded.

In the arena of literacy, our work focuses on helping kids not only learn to read, but to love reading. The majority of our effort is centered on developing early literacy skills before and during third grade. In the 2014–15 school year, more than 300 CSV volunteers read to young students, coached them as writers, or helped in other ways to build basic literacy skills in the Cambridge Public Schools.

One stream of our literacy work is our Publishing Centers. Publishing Center volunteers are trained in the art of book-making. In their weekly visits to the schools, these volunteers encourage students to write and illustrate their original stories that they then “publish” as handmade books.

Providing children an ongoing reading relationship with an adult reader, by solidifying the joy of reading, is a key component of our literacy work. One of our corporate volunteer programs, Reading Buddies, serves children in Kindergarten through third grade (See “Corporate Volunteer Programs”). In addition to three Reading Buddies partnerships, we are proud of our strong collaborations with three additional organizations—Read to a Child, the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy, and the SAG-AFTRA Foundation (BookPALS)—who contribute important teams for core work in literacy.

19,450 CSV Volunteer Hours Were Donated in Elementary Programs in 2015:


At the elementary level, CSV volunteers play a wide variety of roles. Classroom volunteers assist teachers with individualized and small group instruction in all subjects. Many classroom volunteers become an integral part of the classroom community, and some return year after year.

Volunteers in our Intergenerational Math Program (IMP) provide in-class one-to-one tutoring, enabling teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of their wide range of learners more effectively. CSV IMP volunteers logged 1,046 hours in FY15, tutoring 50 children in math.

CSV’s oldest program places volunteers in school libraries across the district. These library assistants help students identify resources, handle circulation, and more. Some engage in extra tasks, such as storytelling, reading aloud, and book repair.