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The Problem: 

30% of kiddos are not at a proficient reading level by the time they reach 3rd grade. Having these skills by the time a child reaches 3rd grade is crucial to their academic success in school and later on in life. However, teachers with 30+ kids in a classroom cannot provide support to each and every single child the way that may always be needed. This can cause a child to slip through the cracks and be at risk to fall further behind. 

  • Nearly 1,400 kids were held back in the 4th grade due to reading proficiency levels.
  • Students who don't read proficiently by 3rd grade are four times more likely to leave school without a high school diploma.
  • 17% of Arizonan's 16 and older do not have a high school diploma or equivalent and are not enrolled in school. (Arizona State Department of Education, 2012)
  • Pinal County has a 74% graduation rate
  • High school dropouts are more than three times more likely than a high school graduate to be arrested, and more than eight times more likely to be incarcerated (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2008)
  • In Arizona, an estimated 530,000 adults read at or below a fifth-grade equivalent. (National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 2003)
  • Less than 10% of those who need literacy services are being served. (Arizona Department of Education, 2004)




The Solution:

According to the 2010 Census, 6.6% of the total 0-5 child population in the state of Arizona is here in Pinal County, followed by both Pima County(13.7), and Maricopa County(62.1). Teachers are doing all that they can, but extra 1:1 reading support has the opportunity to add tremendous value to our elementary classrooms if we have an efficient method to infuse classrooms with 1:1 tutoring opportunities. Thus the birth of Vello!


What is Vello?

Vello is a 1-on-1 online tutoring program that makes volunteering and community impact easy. It connects passionate professionals with kids in their community for instant guided reading with super simple screen sharing and audio.

Dedicated Place for Reading in the Classroom

Each Vello classroom will receive a pre-imaged computer that houses a literacy platform from Learning A-Z's RAZ Plus

24/7 Access for students

Vello enables students to read anywhere with an internet connection, with the added benefit of going beyond text and into activities and quizzes that align to modern standards. 

Passionate Professional Connecting to the Community 

Vello matches the needs of a 21st-century workforce. Passionate volunteers join an internal company team of tutors that will be paired with a classroom. Once you've joined a team at your organization, you can log into Vello and choose a tutoring time slot that works with your schedule. Vello works because of simple and safe screen sharing and audio; an online scheduler to make sign-up easy; and the ability to make an impact in a way that is flexible for volunteers while meaningful for students. 

Who uses Vello?

The Valley of the Sun United Way partners with the following schools:

  • Ignacio Conchos (Roosevelt ESD)
  • JR Davis (Roosevelt ESD)
  • Melvin E. Sine El (Glendale ESD).

There are a total of 13 classrooms currently supported and their goal is to reach 30 classrooms in Phoenix.

Click here to view a testimonial of a Phoenix teacher.


To view more information regarding Vello click here


Please contact the United Way of Pinal County at 520-836-0736 to learn more information.