Start the Adventure in Reading (STAIR)

STAIR - Start the Adventure in Reading - combats functional illiteracy, working with young, striving readers to help them grow in reading and self-confidence and keep them from experiencing the shame and frustration that might otherwise derail their educational journey. STAIR matches second grade readers, identified by Anne Arundel County Schools, as reading below grade level with a volunteer tutor. Tutors work with students, the majority of whom are low income, twice a week for 2.5 hours to improve their reading skills and grow their self-confidence and self-esteem. Students are selected by school reading specialists and improve an average of 5.3 reading levels by year's end (according to independently administered literacy testing). During FY 2024, ACDS is supporting STAIR through a Local Development Council grant and a Community Support Grant to support schools in Severn and other Annapolis-area elementary schools. During school year 2023-24, STAIR has paired 92 students with mentors and provided each student who leaves the program with at least 25 books of their own. Over 200 volunteers are engaged in the program in 12 different Anne Arundel County Schools.

Photo Caption: Sheila W., who works as a housing counselor helping first time homebuyers qualify for homes, spent an afternoon reading "Moving House" by Stephen Cartwright to 2nd graders at Mills Parole Elementary School as a volunteer for the STAIR-Annapolis program.

This spotlight was first featured in the Arundel Community Development Services (ACDS) newsletter. To sign up for future ACDS newsletters, send your name and email address to To learn more about opportunities to volunteer with STAIR, visit