The Alexandria Tutoring Consortium Board and Staff welcome in the New Year with deep gratitude to the donors whose contributions gave ATC a very successful Annual Appeal. We are excited to share that your donations raised $53,000 – an all-time high! With gratitude comes a renewed enthusiasm for the work ATC does to virtually tutor 150+ first graders this year. Thank you!
One-on-one tutoring sessions have been underway for about a month since Alexandria City Public Schools’ winter break concluded. While most of ATC’s Book Buddies resume tutoring sessions, there are a new group of first graders who will just begin tutoring this month. ATC welcomes eight first graders at Ferdinand Day Elementary School into its ranks. We are grateful to the ACPS administrators who worked with us to bring our literacy tutoring program into this school. Thank you, too, to the tutors who participated in Book Buddies curriculum training and are ready to help these students learn to read.
As ATC brings more early readers into its program, the Board thought it would be fun to share with you recommended reading from the school-based coordinators and program staff. Here they are in a recent staff meeting. First row, left to right: Lisa Jacobs, Leah Wilson, Courtney Lombardi. Second row, left to right: Debbie Glenn, Katharine Smeallie, Molly Hall. Third row, left to right: Stephanie Harris, Jessica Klein, Alison Jones.  
And here are their reading recommendations:

Courtney Lombardi (Jefferson-Houston) recommends Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf. Courtney has loved this book since she was a child and now reads it to her classes each year. The main character Ferdinand shows empathy and courageous behavior in the book. It is a magical story, according to Courtney.

Molly Hall (John Adams and William Ramsay) recommends The Boxcar Children series. Molly says it was always a favorite because it really fostered her imagination and was fun to read.  As a teacher, she loved reading the series to her class too.  

Alison Jones (Program Advisor) recommends My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things by DK. This enticing non-fiction text inspires learners of all age groups, covering a large span of topics with interesting facts, diagrams, and illustrations. Each topic is long enough to hold your interest, foster conversation, and create curiosity...leading to a subsequent trip to the library!

Leah Wilson (Charles Barrett) recommends Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. Leah loves this book because kids can relate to Lily, the main character who is a very strong-willed girl. The themes of the book are learning about self control and dealing with disappointment, and Kevin Henkes does a beautiful job portraying Lily’s struggles in a very relatable way. The illustrations are also wonderful. 

Stephanie Harris (Lyles-Crouch and Ferdinand Day) recommends Snowman at Night. It's a fun rhyming book with hidden pictures on each page -- the perfect winter book.

Jessica Klein (James Polk and Patrick Henry) recommends Mo Willem’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Do you know a kid who loves saying, “no?” In this book, it’s the reader’s job to tell the very persuasive pigeon he cannot drive the bus under any circumstance. Enjoy!

Lisa Jacobs (Executive Director) recommends Rosemary Well’s simple and classic Max’s Dragon Shirt, Bunny Cakes and Max’s Chocolate Chicken. Although she overly identifies with (bossy) big sister Ruby, Lisa finds herself cheering for the mischievous little brother in these stories.

Debbie Glenn (Samuel Tucker) recommends The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. She loves this book because of the tangible objects included within. It really became a ‘star’ when her adult son asked about it while away at college.

Katharine Smeallie (Cora Kelly and Maury) recommends He Came with the Couch by David Slovion for adults. Years ago a friend gave Katharine a copy and she shares it often with other adults. When she does, it’s always a hit. It’s a humorous book about a family who has to get a new sofa, which comes with an intriguing visitor.  
ATC has benefitted from two wonderfully helpful technical interns for the past few weeks, Vanessa Altman and Lia Riris. Both interns helped ATC tutors learn and master one-on-one tutoring via Zoom. ATC must now say farewell to Vanessa, who will be returning to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where she is a junior majoring in Liberal Studies for Early & Elementary Education. Lia, a sophomore at VCU, will continue to serve as Tech Intern as well as Book Buddies tutor for a Patrick Henry student while she continues her studies as a psychology major.  
Farewell Vanessa!
We're not sure if Hera the cat can provide Zoom support, but Lia is still available for help. Contact her at
Questions? Contact Lisa Jacobs at
323 S. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-549-6670 x119
Fax: 703-549-9425

Lisa Jacobs, Executive Director