America Reads/Counts Program

This tutoring program is a collaborative effort between the five college administrators, students, and community members, as well as the Five Colleges, Inc. office working together to insure that all children in the community are reading independently by the end of the third grade.

Enlisted students from Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have joined together in the America Reads/America Counts Program (ARAC) to help area schools and agencies serving elementary age children to obtain math and reading tutors at no cost.

For the past two decades, ARAC has placed hundreds of tutors at over 30 different local schools and community agencies in the five college community, including elementary schools, after-school programs, libraries, and child care services. The response from both the tutors and commuity agencies have been overwhelmingly positive

America Reads

The America Reads Challenge is an effort to mobilize an army of reading tutors to ensure that every child can read independently by the end of the third grade. The program has made new increases in Federal Work Study dedicated to tutoring children in reading. Unlike other Work Study arrangements, the America Reads Challenge requires no matching funds from the schools/community agencies where tutors are working.

Recently, Five College America Reads Tutors had over 200 tutors at over 30 different local schools and community agencies, including elementary schools, after-school programs, libraries, and child care services. The response from both the tutors and the work sites has been overwhelmingly positive. One tutor wrote in her evaluation of the program, "I've realized how important it is to read and write with strength and accuracy because it says a lot about who you are." Another tutor wrote ". . . tutoring was a very educational experience for me. I enjoyed helping the children learn to read and developing a trust with the students." Similarly, the work sites have also found a great resource in the program. One site wrote in their evaluation "[the tutor] is a joy to have around. She has been flexible, able to work with different children at different levels, and is wonderfully enthusiastic. We have been delighted to have her work with our students."

America Counts

America Counts is a new initiative from the Federal Government to improve the math skills of children. It works the same as America Reads, with schools, after-school programs, libraries, etc., taking part as tutoring sites, though America Counts is for children preschool through the 9th grade. America Reads is for children preschool through the 6th grade.

If you are interested in tutoring math and/or reading, look for a tutoring position by reaching out to the individuals in the contacts section. As a tutor for America Counts, you will be required to attend the same trainings as America Reads Tutors: an Overview Training Session, the Extended Training Workshop and one of the Special Topic Sessions. Other training and support will be provided by the site that has hired you as a math tutor. You also may tutor both reading and math if you choose.

Please visit the Federal Government's Department of Education web site for more information on America Counts.

Overview Trainings (OT) are one of the two trainings that students are required to attend before eligible to tutor. 

Attendance is highly encouraged whether you have secured a placement as a tutor or not.

Purpose: To get you started as a tutor. Find out how to become a tutor and to become familiar with our protocols and expectations, and learn some initial tutoring tips and techniques.

Requirement: Attend a one-hour OT at one of the five colleges before you begin tutoring (although you can begin calling agencies/schools to set up interviews before attending). Offered towards the beginning of each semester.

What to expect:

  • History of America Reads and Counts
  • Classroom Etiquette
  • Tutor Responsibilities
  • Basic Tutoring Strategies

Please bring any questions you may have about getting started with you to the training. 

As a work-study student, you will be paid for your time. Please arrive on time and stay through the entire session in order to be paid for your training.

Spring 2024 Overview Trainings: Sign up here

Spring 2024 OT dates

February 19th Monday 3pm-4:30pm
Hampshire College // Franklin Patterson Hall 108

February 21st Wednesday 1pm-2:30pm
UMASS // Furcolo Room - S115

February 21st Wednesday 3:30pm-5pm
Amherst College // 102 Barrett Hall

February 22nd Thursday 9am-10:30am
Smith College // Jandon Center Wright Hall 013

February 24th - Saturday @ 10am-11:30am
February 27th - Tuesday @ 8pm-9pm
February 28th  - Wednesday @ 8pm-9pm

If you would like to set up a training with the Training Coordinator please email for more information.

An Extended Training Workshop (ETW) is held one time per semester as a part of the mandatory training process for all Five College America Reads and Counts tutors.  This longer, more in-depth training builds upon information presented at the Overview Trainings held at each of the five colleges. 

Purpose: To learn about tutoring in greater detail, particularly techniques for helping children of particular age groups, special needs or other topics (ie: math tutoring and behavior management).

Requirement: To attend one ETW towards the beginning of your tutoring career. The workshop is intended for new tutors, and we prefer you attend the ETW of the first semester you tutor. The ETW is scheduled every semester in the beginning/middle of the semester on a weekend day, and lasts four hours. University faculty and area teachers deliver great workshops. Food is provided and you are paid for your time.

What to Expect:

Taught by faculty from the five colleges and local teachers, the ETW equips you for success as a tutor.  A few take away points include:

  • Detailed tutoring strategies  
  • Project and lesson ideas
  • Opportunity to meet and share ideas with other tutors & ask questions 
  • Coffee, small breakfast bar & full lunch provided.
  • Compensation for time (if eligible for federal work study & obtain job as tutor)
  • Approximately 5 hours

Fall 2023 ETW: Saturday, October 14 10:30 am.
UMass Amherst, Furcolo Hall
Sign up here

Working with English Language Learners

Guidlines and tips for working with English Language Learners. 

Overview Training Handout

READ*WRITE*NOW! Activities to promote reading, from pre-school on up. Need some activities? This is a great place to start!

America Counts Information
Obtain more information about America Counts by visiting the Department of Education's website.

Math Resources
Another resource is a website of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, called NWREL for short. There are many math resources there, as well as links to the other "education labs" in other parts of the country.

Math Activities for Students
This is the Annenberg website, and it is designed for use by teachers and programs like national service programs. There is a list of "freebies" you can download that includes math activities for students.

*updated August 2022

Amherst College

Office of Financial Aid
B-5 Converse Hall
Amherst, MA 01002

Jose Infante

Hampshire College

Financial Aid Services
893 West Street
Amherst MA 01002

Janel Johnson
(413) 559- 5484

Mount Holyoke College

Community Based Learning
50 College Street
South Hadley, MA 01075


Smith College

Student Employment Office
College Hall #1
Northampton, MA 01063

Becca Jacobson
(413) 585-3060

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Financial Aid Services
255 Whitmore Administration Building
Amherst, MA 01003
UMass Student Employment Webpage

Amy Pioggia
(413) 545-0707

Faculty Consultant

Amanda Marcotte, Ph.D.
Department of Student Development
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 545-7055

Five College Liason

Ray Rennard, Ph.D.
Director of Academic Programs
Five Colleges Inc.
97 Spring Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 542-4011

Tutor Training Coordinator

Esther Y Lee
Graduate Student
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Five College America Reads Program