Sound Partners

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
  • This strategy can help address educational disparities. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Phonics-based tutoring program for students grades K–3 with below-average reading skills
  • Designed to be used by tutors without professional training, consists of scripted lessons in phonics skills
  • Can be provided as in-school or after-school programming, as well as home instruction
Issue Areas
K-12 education
Target Population
Elementary and middle school-aged children
Cost per Participant
Approximately $240 for a full set of program materials

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse

  • Demonstrated positive impacts on alphabetics, fluency, and comprehension
  • Improved alphabetics by an average of 21 percentile points
  • Improved fluency by an average of 19 percentile points
  • Improved comprehension by 21 percentile points

Best practices in implementation

  • Schedule a specific time teach day for tutoring appointments.
  • Holding Sound Partners sessions every day helps build stronger relationships between tutors and students, helping achieve better outcomes.
  • Design feedback loops to help tutors, who often have limited professional training, to adhere as closely as possible to the program model.
  • Keep tutor schedules flexible to accommodate student after school activities or other obligations.