Our Program



Through literacy, every child will be poised to reach their full potential.


Connecting elementary school children with caring and dedicated tutors, our one-on-one tutoring program enhances literacy, fosters creativity, and supplements classroom learning in the South End of Albany.


Reading is Essential * One-on-One Tutoring Works * Every Child has Worth

What We Do: 

We are a free, one-to-one, after-school tutoring program for elementary students in Albany's South End. Starting with children in the first or second grades, these students can remain with the program throughout their elementary years. Our program fosters creativity, and enhances literacy. 

Our trained tutors welcome students into a safe space, with an imaginative theme. Our tutors build a special, supportive relationship with his/her student to not only share a love of reading but also enhance many non-cognitive attributes. These attributes - such as being determined and self motivated, having self control and self esteem, being able to take risks, fail, and try again, etc. - can lead to success, not only in school, but on into life as an adult.    

The Wizard’s Wardrobe is built upon the three factors that research shows are critical to achieving positive youth outcomes:

  • Access to and sustained participation in the program — The Wizard’s Wardrobe seeks to reach as many students as possible and maintain regular attendance in the program. On average, our students have a 90% + attendance record.

  • Quality programming and staffing — The Wizard’s Wardrobe uses a variety of materials and activities. Our program of literacy development is combined with STEM challenges that have "no set right answer" - students can meet the challenge goals in different ways. Our tutors must complete a 2-day training before being assigned a student. In addition, monthly workshops are offered on topics such as addressing the trauma many of our students encounter. 

  • Strong partnerships among the program and other places where students are learning, such as their schools, their homes, and other community institutions — The Wizard’s Wardrobe staff  communicates regularly with teachers and parents. We also host special Imagination Celebrations with a student performance and dinner to engage parents and family members.

The purpose of The Wizard’s Wardrobe is to have each child read proficienly by the end of third grade. Research shows that students who lack proficient reading skills by fourth grade are at a higher risk of struggling academically and even dropping out of school.  Low literacy rates are also linked to other lasting consequences affecting our communities, such as poverty and crime.