The missing piece for struggling schools and students …is YOU!

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There’s a quiet revolution taking place in a handful of public schools.  People like YOU are teaching kids to read, and giving them the practice they need to really succeed.  This is not homework help.  It is not a read-aloud program.  It’s REAL remediation, catching up kids who have fallen behind so their teachers can help them move forward!

  • No special training or education is required — we’ll show you how.
  • Volunteer time commitment is just 2 – 3 hours per week, but each student gets help three days a week
  • Students enjoy the work because they can tell they’re making progress
  • Teachers, support staff and principals love the program because they see significant measurable results.


Or use the links on the left to take action in any of several ways.  You can also use our contact information to get in touch any time — we would love to talk with you!


More about the program

FAQs, Facts and Stats


FAQs, Facts and Stats

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does Plumfield have any religious component?  No.  We are a non-religious non-profit organization, and our bylaws contain a strong non-discrimination policy.  We work hard to be inclusive in this cause, from the kids we serve to our volunteers and financial supporters, to our Board of Directors.  Our work has no religious connection or purpose.


Do you make money from selling books, etc.?  No.  We don’t sell books at all, in fact.  We purchase them and provide them at no cost to our partner organizations.  After two years of partnership, all books belong to them permanently.

 Why don’t you just charge the schools for your help?

It’s a common misperception that public schools have plenty of money.   The truth is schools struggle to make ends meet.  (That’s why your kids are always selling butter braids and gift wrapping paper and stuff!)  Budgets change from year to year, and we never want to have to leave a school because the budget won’t stretch to pay us.  We want to be able to help without being a burden on the budget decisions of our partners.

Also — and maybe more importantly — we truly believe that the larger community can and should help these kids.  “Joyful generosity” is one of our key values.  We practice it, and we share the joy with others as they have the chance to practice it, too.


The full cost of a Plumfield program is about $12,000 per year. That’s about $60/month per child, for intensive remediation, the kind that costs MANY TIMES more at private for-profit centers.


If a child is not reading at grade level by third grade, and that child is affected by poverty, he or she is 13 times more likely to drop out of school and not graduate.

A student in poverty who drops out of school is FAR more likely to end up in prison, abuse drugs, become a teen parent, and/or ultimately continue the cycle of poverty into the next generation.  We refuse to let that happen.  Join us!

A quick overview of First Grade First

The Challenge

Many students arrive at first grade already behind in their English literacy skills, sometimes because their homes are exclusively Spanish speaking, sometimes because of home life difficulties or poverty, or for any number of other reasons.  Statistics show that early reading achievement is a predictor of future success.  If an child affected by poverty is not reading at grade level by third grade, they are 13 times more likely NOT to finish high school.


The Strategy:  Assess, Individualize, Implement, Assess!

Plumfield works with kindergarten and first grade teachers to identify students who need help to catch up and keep up on their reading and writing.  We provide our own assessments, specific to phonetic reading and sight-word reading.  Once we identify kids who need our help, we provide one-on-one, methodical, tutoring for each of them, three days a week, during the school day.


The Results

  • Students consistently make an average of 1.4 school years’ progress for each year in the program.
  • Teachers report that the skills learned transfer extremely well to the classroom.
  • Reading interventionists and special education staff at the schools routinely refer students to the First Grade First program as part of their individual plans for their students.

The People

Plumfield provides a site coordinator at each school to coach and lead a team of volunteer tutors.   Volunteers are drawn from the community surrounding the school, volunteering at least one day per week throughout the school year.


The Community Opportunity

Plumfield never charges the schools, students or families we serve.  Instead, we work with the community to provide the necessary funds and volunteers.  No prior experience is necessary for volunteers – we provide training, volunteer-friendly curriculum and coaching!

For more information, use our contact information or use one of the Take Action links on the left to start the conversation!