Light-bulb Moments with United Readers Mentors

Mentor working with student
Year 2 Mentors!
Mentor during classroom activity.

It’s so wonderful to witness when a student finally “gets it.” That light-bulb moment is magical because our United Readers mentors, like Renee, know that it means a student is building the foundational literacy skills necessary to read proficiently.

 “One of my young people was so upset because she couldn't remember onset sounds so I helped her with some writing on the white erase board so she could see it as well as hear it. The smile on her face as she started to recognize sounds is worth millions!” -Renee


United Readers mentors, including Renee, provided one-on-one and small group mentoring in-person to 227 Washoe County students in five schools throughout the 2021-2022 school year. That’s 3x more kindergarten through third graders served than in the first year! 63% of those students increased one full level of growth when comparing post-tests to pre-tests.

Ashley Oliveria, Principal at Sun Valley Elementary, had this to say:

“The opportunity to have AmeriCorps Mentors come to our school was truly a blessing. Due to staffing shortages, we were unable to provide this level of intervention support to many of our students. Additionally, COVID has created a lot of reading gaps in our students, and the program was able to target these phonemic awareness skills that are not as heavily focused on in our regular curriculum. These mentors have truly been a Godsend!”

In a few short months, the third year of United Readers will begin. Because of you, more students will receive the tools, resources, and support systems to read at grade level by the end of third grade. Thank you for investing in our children and, ultimately, the future of northern Nevada.


Thank you,


Ashleigh Foster

Vice President of Resource Development

United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra


P.S. If you know anyone who is ready to make a difference as a United Readers mentor, please share our application link below!

Mentor with student during Year 2 of United Readers program by United Way!