Saying "Vello" to a New Way of Reading

01/18/2017, By Valley of the Sun United Way

Valley of the Sun United Way is saying “Vello” to a new way of reading. United Way has launched an innovative online tutoring program, called Vello, for students and volunteer tutors to connect and read books from a virtual library to improve a child’s reading ability. Through one-on-one tutoring and attention, the platform allows people to volunteer for a quick half-hour from wherever they have access to a computer with internet.

Being strong readers in elementary school puts students on the path to succeed in high school and beyond. United Way and Vello volunteers want to help children succeed.

Students in first and second grade classrooms across the Valley have had the special surprise of meeting their virtual tutors in person. Volunteers met with students, bonded over their favorite books, and read a book together to experience what happens on the other side of the computer screen through their Vello sessions. Several United Way partners have employees participating and volunteering for the launch, including University of Phoenix, Wells Fargo, US Bank, KPMG, Vanguard, Deloitte, and AAA.

Making a Hands-On Difference

Seeing a difference in the children’s reading abilities and meeting some of the students has made volunteering in Vello an enlightening experience for the tutors.

Volunteer Kathy Nieboer recalled, “Each one of those children that I read with in the beginning were at a level in which I wouldn’t assume a child their age would be at. But once we continued to become comfortable with each other and read, I could hear them becoming stronger, and stronger, and stronger. That for me made every moment even more worth it than just being able to do it.”


Vello is in several classrooms locally. Click here for more information on the Vello program and to learn how you could volunteer.

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