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Teen Trendsetters®

Mentoring to impact three generations

Teen Trendsetters is a reading mentoring program for first, second, and third graders who are reading half a year or more behind their grade level. These struggling readers are assigned a teen mentor from middle and high school who meets with them weekly, and they work together to improve reading.

The program also engages the mentees’ parents, who sign a contract agreeing to read with their child at least twice a week. To help encourage their continued learning at home with their parents, the mentees also receive a home library over the course of the school year. We also provide information to parents who might want to improve their own literacy skills.

The Barbara Bush Foundation provides training for both teen mentors and program advisors on age-appropriate books for mentees, and a high-quality mentoring guide for the teens with evidence-based strategies to help mentees learn to read.

PARENTS OF MENTEES:

engages them to read with their child and provides necessary support

CHILD MENTEES:

increases their literacy skills in order to keep up with their peers

TEEN MENTORS:

encourages leadership and the value of continued education

Teen mentors and their mentees work together to improve literacy skills over the course of the school year.
150 programs across 11 states

The Barbara Bush Foundation supports Teen Trendsetters programs because they are proven to improve literacy skills and reach learners across three generations.

Most dramatically, it is a lifeline for mentees who may otherwise slip even further behind their grade level. But teen mentors also report learning just as much from the program. As teen mentor Ciara said, “I didn’t expect to learn from them as much as I did. It was such a wonderful surprise.” Mentees’ parents also benefit from the personalized support for their child and their own dedication to reading with their child at home.

"Reading helps us grow, head and heart."

— BARBARA BUSH
It’s making a difference

In 2017-2018, a third-party evaluation of Teen Trendsetters programs revealed several key results:

  • Children’s reading skills increased 1.14 grade levels in seven months, which is 39% more growth than expected for the average student.
  • 44% of teen mentors reported that the program helped them improve their own reading skills.

Teen mentors also gained community service hours and reported improved leadership, communication, and teamwork skills. Additionally, teen mentors report that the program helped them prepare for college (70%) and future employment (87%). National data from 2017 also suggests that 69% of high school seniors attend a two- or four-year college after graduation, but 91.3% of high-school senior mentors planned on attending college. Of those, over 67% were receiving some type of scholarship.

SUCCESS STORIES

The multigenerational
impact of literacy

JEN'S STORY
JANAE'S STORY
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Improving literacy unlocks the potential of individuals, families, and businesses across our country. Join our mission to change America, one learner at a time.

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