A Way With Words & Numbers


A Way With Words and Numbers (AWWWN) is a community-based non-profit program that teams undergraduate students from the University of Missouri (MU) with local children to improve their struggling literacy and mathematics skills. MU graduate students coordinate the program’s services and guide the undergraduates as they tutor the young learners. The program improves young learners’ academic and social achievement while benefiting the professional development and civic awareness of the student tutors and site coordinators.

Fast Facts

  • 2,500 Children and adults tutored annually
  • 250 Undergraduate and graduate tutors
  • 17 Graduate student site coordinators
  • 25,000 MU student tutoring hours

Serving the Community

The program currently serves the Columbia, MO community by providing tutoring services in 15 public elementary schools and after-school tutoring at the Columbia Public Library. Undergraduate tutors are assigned to school classrooms and community sites to provide an extra set of hands during reading or math lessons. The program is continuing to evolve as to better meet the needs of the youth in our community.

We are now systematically providing evidence-based literacy interventions to students. AWWWN has now adopted Path to Reading Excellence in School Sites (PRESS) which provides an evidence-based approach to data-driven literacy instruction. We originally piloted it in 3 schools, but have expanded this program to over 15 schools over the past year and offer this program for all students K-5 in our after school tutoring program.


  • 89 percent of teachers whose students participate in the program say it improves student attitudes about reading and/or math.
  • Nearly 100 percent of these teachers endorse the program.
  • School administrators say that in many cases, A Way With Words & Numbers’ tutors are the only assistance schools are able to provide to children who need extra support in these high-need subjects.

For more information

Amanda Allen
Director, A Way With Words & Number
University of Missouri