Reading Soul Mates

“Children receiving one-on-one tutoring set up by community groups have shown greater progress than children without that support." - Howard Lee, N.C. School Board Chairman

Reading Soul Mates, is a preventive program developed in 1999 by Gaston Literacy Council, Inc. in partnership with the Gaston County School System.

The program produces extraordinary results:  of 85 children served during the 2018-2019 school year, 83 showed improvement in their reading skills.  49 students achieved grade level reading, with 18 achieving above grade level skills.

RSM is designed to help children develop a positive attitude toward reading, achieve success in school, and build self-confidence.  It also fosters children’s creative thinking and problem solving skills, nurtures a love of books, and aids in the development of comprehension skills.  Reading activities help children relate the story to their own lives, ensuring success by linking prior knowledge to what they have read.  



Through Reading Soul Mates (RSM), second grade students, reading below grade level and at-risk of grade retention, are matched with supportive role models who tutor, set expectations, and provide motivation and guidance.  

Reading Soul Mates provides students with extra, targeted tutoring that improves their reading abilities so they can read at grade level with their classmates.

RSM tutors are Gaston Literacy Council volunteers who complete a pre-service training that includes strategies in reading instruction, understanding the characteristics of children to be tutored, and an overview of Gaston County Schools volunteer policies and procedures.

Contact us about volunteer training and opportunities.


The curriculum includes a variety of language skill-building activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  Students are taught to focus on meaning and to use problem-solving strategies to figure out words, deal with difficult sentence structure, and understand concepts they have never encountered in print.

Picture books also provide students with opportunities to expand their vocabulary, to interpret stories, and to recognize how illustrations contribute to the story.

School administration determines student eligibility for participation by school-administered assessments in reading.

Reading Buddies


Reading Soul Mates

"I’ve learned so much doing this, like what it’s like to struggle in school. I never thought about that before. And that I have to learn to be much more patient with everybody, not just people younger than me.”
~ Trevor , seventh grade peer tutor

“It’s been so good! I took an Accelerated Reading test last week and made a hundred. I felt proud. And it’s so much fun.”
~ Daishon , second grader

“This is so much fun. Now I want to read all the books in the world, and I think I can!”
~ Nora , second grader

“(Reading Soul Mates) has drawn my Sunday School class closer as a group because we have something in common we’re all working on.”
~ Barbara