Team Read Creator Reflects on 20 Years of Reading Success

Joan Dore is a legend in the Team Read community. Joan was working at Seattle Public Schools in 1997 as the district’s Reading Programs Manager, and she played the leading role in developing the Team Read concept. Joan also went on to serve on our Board of Directors, and she has devoted countless hours to supporting the program as an adviser, trainer, curriculum developer and long-term donor.

As Team Read celebrates its 20th anniversary, we asked Joan to look back at those early years, and the dream that became a thriving program …


Hi Joan!  Thank you, from all of us, for helping to create Team Read. What made you want to help with the initial planning and implementation of the program? 

Well, Craig and Susan McCaw (local business leaders) came to Superintendent John Stanford and said they wanted to help the district with reading, and they offered to make a donation to help lead this effort. I called more than a dozen people who knew about reading and said, ‘If money was no object, what would you want to do in our schools to improve reading?’ I got a ton of ideas, I sifted through them, and I came up with several proposals.  I presented them to the McCaws, and they selected the Team Read model.


How did the program idea originate?

I based the Team Read model on a cross-age tutoring program I ran when I was a teacher at B.F. Day Elementary. I trained the fifth graders to work with first graders, and it went really well, so that’s where I got the original idea for the model.

Reading is so crucial to success in school and life, and the Team Read model supplemented what we were doing in the school district. It gave students an extra shot of reading. It helped the younger kids, but it was very exciting for the older kids too, to have a job and see results. I was glad to be a part of the early development.


What has been your proudest moment during your time with Team Read? 

What warms my heart the most is when I visit sites and see the kids working and see their pride in what they’re doing. Every time I visit the sites, I feel the greatest joy.

We’ve served more than 18,000 kids – that’s a big impact!


Where did you imagine the program would be 20 years after its inception?

I would have hoped and dreamed that it would be where it is, but at first, it was just a hope and a dream, and I wasn’t sure it would come true. I want Team Read to keep on keeping on!  I want it to never lose its core values. I want it to go from 18,000 students served to 40,000!


Sneak Peek: 2016-17 After School Program Evaluation

As we wrap-up the final stages of our 2016-17 after school program evaluation, we are excited to share some preliminary data and feedback with the Team Read community!

  • More than 90% of site coordinators, site assistants, reading coaches, and parents agreed that students improved their reading skills. 
  • 82% of site assistants and 87% of reading coaches indicated that they developed skills they can use in other work settings, now and in the future
  • A site coordinator shared, “You spend so much time being a student, and when you teach, you see it isn’t always easy. It helps [teens] with their social and life skills. It is rewarding to invest in someone and to see that individual grow or display growth. They feel responsible, a part of something, and it gives them a sense of pride.”

Stay tuned for the full evaluation report this fall!

Congrats Team Read Class of 2017!

Over the past several weeks, Team Read partner schools have hosted graduations to celebrate the achievements of their student readers and reading coaches. Over 300 2nd and 3rd graders participated in Team Read’s after school program this year, each striving to become a better reader. After several months of hard work and dedication, students have improved their vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension.

We’re so proud of everything our reading pairs have accomplished together this year, and we’d like to share some reflections from students, coaches, and their parents.


“What I like about being a reading coach is looking back at your students’ progress to see how far they have come. It’s good to know that I was the one that helped them get to that point. This program is incredible.”

–Alimurtada, reading coach


“Edwin and I have gotten a lot closer, even with only a couple hours together each week. We have something new to talk about every day.”

–Emmy, reading coach


“Working with Anna is fun and exciting. She teaches me new things and we have fun in Team Read.”

–LaNiya, student reader


“Savannah has lots of fun teaching me how to read. The great thing about her is she feels like family to me.”

– Yessenia, student reader


“Kenji has served as a Team Read tutor for the past 5 years and his career goal is to become a high school teacher in a high needs school. Team Read has increased Kenji’s interest and skills in working with students with diverse backgrounds and learning needs.”

–Kathleen Vasquez, parent of a reading coach

Asma Amazes with 1,200 Reading Minutes in April

Team Read students always impress, but we were particularly wowed by the hard work of Asma at Thurgood Marshall this April. Asma set out to read for 500 minutes as part of our April read-a-thon, but the more she read, the more she wanted to read.

“I kept finding a lot of books I liked, and I started to read them,” Asma recalls. In particular, she loved the young adult novel Fang and also the series Ruby and the Booker Boys. Asma kept reading and reading, and by the end of the month, she had read for more than 1,200 minutes, or 20 hours.

“Asma loves reading!” notes her Team Read coach Halima. “She wants to rush into reading during every session.”

Students around the city participated in the April read-a-thon, tracking their progress with bubblegum stickers on giant bubblegum machine posters created by reading coaches. Every gumball sticker represented 30 minutes of reading. By the end of the month, many of our students had blown past their 500 minute goal.

Students at South Shore PK-8 read more than any other school, filling their gumball machine to the max.

Congratulations to Asma and all of our hardworking read-a-thon participants!