CHICAGO (WLS) -- Three times a week, one 4th grader gets one-on-one tutoring with Mr. Garcia at Moos Elementary.
GiGi Marchan said during the pandemic, it was confusing and hard to learn reading virtually.
"I didn't know what to do," GiGi said.
Since she started tutoring this year, she said she is getting closer and closer to reading at her grade level.
"Yeah, it's way easier to understand," GiGi said.
Edwin Garcia is among 250 tutors in CPS schools. The Tutor Corps program launched last year, but expanded this year to address the learning gap caused by the pandemic.
"A lot of my students have a hard time decoding some of those words, which is mostly what my job is, to help them find tricks help them read a little faster," Garcia said.
For 3rd graders in Chicago, the gap in English language arts learning increased. In 2019, 25% of students were not meeting expectations. In 2022, that statistic jumped to 43%. For math, it was 17% in 2019, and went up to 33% in 2022.
Libby Battaglia is the interventionist at Moos.
After the pandemic, she said, it was clear that more students needed more help. Last year, they had one tutor. This year, they have three.
"While students are making progress, but may still be struggling, they have gained so much confidence," Battaglia said.
For Garcia, English was a second language when he went through CPS, and interventionists helped him achieve his goals.
"It's a good opportunity. I get to return to CPS to give back what they gave me, the way they supported me, and now, they get to support these students," Garcia said.
Garcia is now studying to be a teacher when he's not tutoring. CPS plans to expand the tutoring program, with a focus on find tutors in neighborhoods where students live.