August 16, 2018

The Raise Your Hand (RYH) tutoring program recruits volunteer tutors to help first through fourth grade students in Williamson County achieve grade-level reading proficiency.

Reading proficiency is a key factor in quality education. However, during the 2016-2017 school year, only 35% of third-grade students in Tennessee were proficient in reading according to an elementary reading report released by the Tennessee Department of Education in April 2018.

In 2012, United Way of Williamson County launched RYH to join a statewide effort to increase childhood literacy. “Raise Your Hand fosters math and reading skills. But, research shows that third-grade reading proficiency is a predictor of high school graduation and life outcomes,” says Sonya Johnson, United Way’s RYH program manager. “Raise Your Hand allows us to intervene and equip students with reading tools during a critical stage of their development.”

RYH partners with administrators and teachers at Williamson County Schools and Franklin Special School District to implement before-school or after-school tutoring in 12 schools. Volunteers commit one hour per week, assisting teachers with reading assignments and tutoring students individually or in small groups.

“Volunteers help our students reach their full reading potential,” says Johnson. During the 2017-2018 school year, 93% of RYH participants increased their reading scores.

The next RYH tutoring session starts September 17th. RYH volunteer applications are available online at Teachers guide volunteers through the tutoring process. Therefore, no teaching experience is required to volunteer. Training is provided.

Prospective volunteers can submit an application at any time of the year. However, United Way encourages individuals to apply in advance of the August 28th volunteer workshop, which takes place from 10:00 am ­– 11:00 am at the United Way office located at 209 Gothic Court, Suite 107 in Franklin.

For more information, visit or call Sonya Johnson at 615-771-2312.

About United Way of Williamson County

Serving Williamson County for 57 years, United Way of Williamson County fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in our community. We bring together people, companies, and organizations to identify and support solutions to the county’s most critical issues. Change doesn’t happen alone. To live better, we must Live United. Visit or call 615-771-2312 for more information.