Timberland Volunteers Help First Grade Students Improve Reading Skills Through TutorMate’s Interactive Online Platform
Outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland recently offered employees at its corporate headquarters in Stratham, NH an innovative new way to serve -- from the convenience of their desks -- in partnership with TutorMate, a division of Innovations of Learning (a non-profit focused on teaching students to read). TutorMate pairs adult tutors with students in need to help improve reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills. While the program is national in scope, Timberland was among TutorMate’s first corporate partnerships in New England and was matched with the David A. Ellis Elementary school in Roxbury, MA, part of the Boston public school system.
Since 1992, Timberland has offered employees paid time to serve communities through its Path of Service™ program. Full time employees are offered up to 40 paid service hours each year, and the company always seeks innovative ways to help employees use those hours.
Starting in March 2018, ten Timberland employees began tutoring individual first-grade students in weekly 30- minute sessions through TutorMate’s online platform. Tutors dialed into a computer in the first grade classroom to connect with the student to be tutored. During each session, tutors and students shared a screen and read online stories together. They also practiced sight words and sounds, and played a variety of online interactive skills-building games.
The tutors could then message the students’ teacher through the TutorMate platform to provide progress updates and move students up a level to encourage more challenging reading and comprehension. The students especially enjoyed playing a word-based version of tic-tac-toe to increase their vocabulary words.
To celebrate the success of the program, the Timberland tutors travelled to the Eliis School on June 5 to meet their students in person for an afternoon of activities, snacks and fun. The tutors also surprised all the first grade students (over 80 in total) with new TimberlandÒ boots.
“The excitement and joy were both contagious and loud!” said Jill Holt, Timberland’s Community Service coordinator and TutorMate program lead for Timberland. “The students were thrilled with the surprise, as many have never had their own brand new pair of shoes. It was an incredibly rewarding experience all around, for the kids as well as the tutors.”
“This was the best use of my community service hours to date,” said Timberland volunteer Katie Guest. “I loved forming a friendship with my student and helping her read through this innovative program. And it was so convenient to be able to do right from my desk.”
To learn more about TutorMate visit http://www.innovationsforlearning.org/tutormate/.
To learn more about Timberland’s commitment to create responsible product, protect and restore the outdoors, and serve communities, visit https://www.timberland.com/responsibility.html.