Why Literacy and Math?

Water Walkers provides educational enrichment and enrichment programs Monday-Friday 46 weeks a year. Upon entering our program, nearly 90% of the youth are multiple grade levels behind in reading, writing, and math. Water Walkers is addressing education as an essential component to disrupt the cycles of poverty and inequality.

We place special emphasis on helping the younger students since they are “learning to read” from Pre-K to 3rd grade and start “reading to learn” in 4th grade. Furthermore, evidence shows that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers. Poverty compounds this problem; students who have lived in poverty are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time than their more affluent peers. And dropouts are three times more likely to be incarcerated than high school graduates.

To help all the students in our program, we apply the award-winning IXL © literacy and math software which utilizes personalized learning to monitor each child’s progress. With a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, individualized guidance, and real-time analytics, IXL meets the unique needs of each learner. Each student averages 4-5 math and/or literacy lessons each day.

Results and Benefits

We were very pleased with our latest educational assessments of the kids’ reading skills.
In 2023, using the IXL software, assessments showed the following outcomes:
Results for new students – over their first 16-week period
  • Math: avg. improvement of 1.01 grade level
  • Reading: avg. improvement of 0.93 grade level
  • Overall: avg. improvement of 0.97 grade level
Results for returning students – during 2023
  • Math: avg. improvement of 1.68 grade levels
  • Reading: avg. improvement of 1.58 grade levels
  • Overall: avg. improvement of 1.63 grade levels

One of the significant benefits of the tutoring program is the opportunity for students to connect with caring adults. Volunteers give 1-3 hours of their time during the afternoon sessions to interact with the kids, playing games and helping them with homework. The kids witness positive role models; the adults encourage the kids.


If you would like to contribute financially to provide educational enhancement for kids, click here.


If you want to volunteer to tutor,
click here.

Moving the Classroom Outdoors

What Students are Learning Through Adventure Science

Water Walkers is all about developing strong minds and bodies by working with youth outdoors and in the classroom. We also believe learning should be fun, and that’s why we’ve added Adventure Science elements to our curriculum. As they personally experience nature, the kids to learn as they touch, hear, smell, and see the beauty of their surroundings.

The goal of the Adventure Science program is for the kids to collect their own data, turn that data into information and draw conclusions about what that information means … and most importantly how the students can use it to make their communities better.

Aquatic ecology:

The great outdoors is the best playground that mother nature has to offer, but… if we donʼt take care of it, that will not be the case for generations to come. Through our aquatic ecology program, we…

  • instill a passion to care for the environment;
  • teach the kids about why clean water is important, not only for the Nashvillians who drink it, but also the wildlife that depend on it;
  • sample the watersheds and study the plants and wildlife;
  • open a sense of wonder and appreciation for the beautiful planet we inhabit!

Adventure Physics:

Two of our Core Values are “Seek Adventure” and “Never Stop Learning”. One of the best ways to implement these values is through Aquatic Physics. As we keep the kids in motion, we teach NEWTONʼS LAWS OF MOTION. For example, what better way for them to learn about…

  • centripetal force than flying around the lake on a tube,
  • friction while repelling down a rock wall,
  • waterʼs surface tension while hopefully NOT belly flopping off our double decker pontoon boat!


Testimonial: Amber

*Amber is special! Her hard work this past year using the new Let’s Go Learn software enabled her to increase her literacy level by nearly 3 grade levels! While it’s impressive that the average reading scores of the other participants increased nearly two grade levels, Amber excelled. Hear what she has to say about Walkers Walkers…
“My name is Amber, and I am a Water Walker. What does that mean? It means that I am gaining the confidence to do what’s expected of me as well as the impossible. I like Water Walkers because they are teaching me to be a better reader and I don’t get as nervous to read aloud. I get a chance to help my younger peers with their reading and homework and in the past I would not have ever done that.

I love the activities and places we go around Middle Tennessee. Water Walkers take us places we didn’t know existed. Have you ever stood in the legendary Stones River? Have you ever swam in the Stones River or tubed on Percy Priest Lake? Well because I’m a water walker, I have!!!! My family has told me that I am changing for the better and I owe so much of that to Water Walkers. I would tell anyone to sign their kid up for the Water Walkers Program.”

(*Note: To protect the identity of Water Walkers’ participants, their real names are not used in the profiles.)