Reading Assist Institute will receive $25,000 from NBC10/WCAU and Telemundo62/WWSI, in partnership with the NBCUniversal Foundation, as one of the three winners of the “21st Century Solutions” grant challenge in the Philadelphia area.

The grant will support the work of the RAI Reading Corps, a pilot program for reading intervention in partnership with AmeriCorps and the Colonial School District. RAI Reading Corps interventionists work one-on-one, five days a week, with 1st-3rd grade students in the Colonial School District, many of whom face significant academic challenges that make it difficult, if not impossible, to learn the basic foundational skills of reading through general classroom instruction.

“Being called a ‘21st Century Solution’ just shows how far ahead our founders were when they developed this program more than 25 years ago,” said Victoria Innes, executive director of Reading Assist Institute. “But throughout those years, emerging data and scientific research have confirmed time and again that our approach works. We know we have the instructional program capable of helping children who struggle to learn the basic foundational skills. We know these children can become successful readers. Our challenge now is a matter of resources, in our mission to get this program in front of the children who need it the most.

“Our partnership with AmeriCorps and the Colonial School District this year is a significant step toward meeting that challenge, and we’re grateful to NBC/Universal for recognizing that and supporting it with this grant,” Innes said.

Many states have programs that place reading tutors inside schools, but the RAI Reading Corps is unique in the nation for the quality of training members receive. Every RAI Reading Corps member undergoes more than 50 hours of training in the RAI reading intervention program, which is grounded in Orton-Gillingham principles and focuses on the skills that comprise the mechanics of reading. The program is designed to help students who face even the most severe reading challenges.

21st Century Solutions grants support impactful programs that offer bold, new ideas that move communities forward. For the fourth consecutive year, the challenge is awarding a total of $1.2 million to only 30 nonprofits in 10 markets across the country.

“NBC10 and Telemundo62 – in partnership with the NBCUniversal Foundation – are honored to take part in the fourth annual 21st Century Solutions grant challenge, which recognizes and supports innovative efforts that aim to help solve some of our region’s most pressing social issues,” said Ric Harris, president and general manager of NBC10 and Telemundo62. “Each of these three grant recipients is helping to make a meaningful impact in the communities we serve, which ultimately helps us build stronger communities.”