826 National

An Effective Practice


826 National is a non-profit organization focused on student writing, tutoring, and publishing. It is based in San Francisco, California with eight local chapters in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor/Detroit, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, DC.

826 National's eight local chapters provide free volunteer-supported after-school tutoring and in-school programs five days a week to support under-resourced youth, ages 6-18. Student publishing opportunities exist through the creation of student newspapers, books, and magazines. In addition, each chapter partners annually with a teacher and students from a low-income school to produce a professionally made, student-created book. Writing seminar and workshop field trips are held four days a week in 826 chapter locations, and all culminate with the student creating an original piece of work. In-school programs are focused on sending tutors into the classroom to offer one-on-one help with school projects, homework, or essays. The organization also provides teacher support and support services for students for whom English is a second language.

The organization utilizes project-based learning, a teaching model which focuses on developing programs that culminate in a finished project such as a book, film, or newspaper. This encourages collaboration between students, instructors and peers, fosters creative decision-making, and promotes ownership over the learning process. Project-based learning also places great emphasis in having the student participate in projects that they are truly interested in, resulting in an experience that they take pride in and that is meaningful to them.

Goal / Mission

The mission of 826 National is to help children ages 6-18 develop their writing skills, and to help teachers get their students excited about writing. The mission is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

Results / Accomplishments

In 2012-2013, 826 National served 29,499 students and 777 teachers, and was supported by 4,366 volunteers. According to the 826 National website, all (100%) teachers involved with in-schools projects felt their students were engaged and challenged during the project and that the program was a good resource for teachers. Most students (85%) who participated in in-schools projects reported increased confidence in their writing.

Nearly all (92%) parents of students who participated in 826 after-school tutoring reported that their child’s writing skills improved. Almost all (98%) teachers who participated in field trips felt they were valuable learning opportunities, and 94% of 826 volunteers said they would recommend 826 as a volunteer opportunity to friends.

In a 2011-2012 assessment, students showed an 8% increase in “contextual convention” abilities (e.g., noun-verb agreement, punctuation, spelling) and a 13% increase in “story composition” skills (e.g., vocabulary, prose, plot) on the Test of Written Language (TOWL) after participating in 826 programs.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Mariama Lockington, Programs and Administrative Coordinator
826 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-642-5905 x204
Education / Literacy
Education / School Resources
Education / Student Performance K-12
826 National
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
Chapters in CA, NY, IL, WA, MI, MA, DC
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Teens
Additional Audience