Frequently Asked Questions

1. Must I have a Federal Work-Study award to be a tutor?

Yes, to be a paid America Reads Tutor, you must have received a Federal Work Study award. There are no exceptions. Volunteer positions are also available to those that are not eligible for Federal Work Study.

2. How do I get a Federal Work Study award? Students receive this award as part of their financial aid package through the University of Kansas.

To be eligible for a Federal Work Study award, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For more information, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at 864-4700.

3.If I am not eligible for a Federal Work Study (FWS) award, can I volunteer with America Reads?

Yes! In order to volunteer, please fill out the Volunteer Schedule Request form on the "Becoming a Tutor" tab of our website. This form can be e-mailed to Marah Schlingensiepen at

4. How do I become a tutor? Students can apply online at the beginning of each semester via the KU employment web site. If you are interested in becoming a tutor or volunteer, please contact Marah Schlingensiepen at

5. What children do tutors work with?

Tutors work with students in Title 1 schools in the Lawrence USD 497 school district. Students' ages range from Kindergarten to fifth grade. All students have been identified by their teachers as needing extra help in reading. America Reads works exclusively with elementary school students.

6. What does it mean to be a Title 1 school?

A school is deemed a Title 1 school if more than 50% of its student population receives free or reduced lunch.

7. How do tutors find classroom placements?

When a tutor first begins with America Reads, he or she fills out a schedule request form, indicating all times that the tutor is willing and available to work, as well as the minimum and maximum hours desired each week. This schedule is then coordinated with requests from teachers. Grade and school preferences are also taken into account.

8. Do tutors need their own transportation?

Tutors are not required to own their own car, but they must provide their own transportation to and from the schools. Many of the participating schools are on either the KU bus route or the city's bus route. Tutors are responsible for coordinating their own transportation.

9. How many hours a week do tutors work?

Our program is exceptionally flexible with hours. All tutors, however, must keep a consistent schedule each week. Tutors must also attend two mandatory 1-hour training periods upon initial acceptance to the program. All tutors meet every other week for a one-hour training seminar throughout the year as well. Volunteers: All volunteers are required to tutor at least 1 hour per week. There is no limit to the number of hours that you may volunteer, as long as you are keeping a consistent and reliable schedule each week. Paid tutors: All paid tutors must work at least 5 hours per week. Your maximum number of hours is contingent upon your Federal Work Study amount. The maximum FWS award is $5,000. Tutors can no longer be paid after their FWS award has been used up.

10. I am a teacher in USD 497. How do I involve my classroom with America Reads?

America Reads tutors are a free service to your classroom if you belong to a Title 1 elementary school in the USD 497. To request a tutor, please fill out the Tutor Request Form posted on the "Requesting a Tutor" tab of our website. Please send any questions to Marah Schlingensiepen at

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