It Takes a Village

“Between birth and third grade, children learn to read, and after third grade, children read to learn. If you’re not reading by third grade, you’re in trouble.” So says Elon University, which is renowned for engaged and experiential learning.[1]

According to the United States Department of Education, 32 million adults in the country cannot read.[2] Elon University’s ‘It Takes a Village’ project works to combat this situation by improving the critical literacy skills of young students struggling at school. The project uses a collaborative approach to help children in the community by pairing struggling students and Elon education majors for weekly tutoring sessions. “Ever since they started reading in the village, we have seen huge differences in their grades,” says Ary Londono whose two daughters are in the programme, “now they read more often”. The Village Project focuses on diagnosing students’ specific reading needs, provides one-to-one support for the children to address these needs and helps instruct parents and communities about ways they can work with their children to improve their reading skills, and also to garner a love for reading.

From humble beginnings as after-school reading help for 16 children in 2008, Jean Rattigan-Rohr’s ‘It Takes a Village’ programme now impacts more than 400 kids across North Carolina. The programme has also expanded to include mathematics, music and science sessions, but reading still remains the most requested, according to Rattigan-Rohr.

Oak Foundation has been a proud supporter of the project for several years, and this year’s grant will go towards purchasing books, providing snacks and food for parents and children, and electing parent leaders to assist other families. One of the biggest supports will be the ability to solve transportation problems for parents by expanding to more locations.

To find out more about the ‘It Takes a Village’ project and see a video about their work visit here.


[1] Williams, J, “Elon University’s ‘Village’ project receives major grant”, The Times News, 2016.

[2] US Department of Education, US Illiteracy Statistics, National Institute of Literacy, 2013.


© Elon University