We connect low-income elementary school students with local professionals to improve their reading and writing skills.

We host a platform that acts as a controlled environment for these interactions, using individual's own email addresses. Students and professionals send emails to a user specific address on the app.  The app scrubs personal information from the emails and blocks inappropriate language, such as profanity. This allows us to give teachers full oversight and protect our students and volunteers.

Volunteers are matched to students based on location. At the end of each cycle, classes have the opportunity to host a career day and invite volunteers. This is the only time volunteers and students meet in person.


Make an impact on a student from your community from anywhere you can check your email,
right from your everyday work email account.  Leverage your professional communication skills to help a low-income
elementary school student improve their reading and writing through an email dialogue.

Sign up.

Are you a professional in the San Francisco Bay Area? Sign up to volunteer with Dialog to Learn! It only takes a few minutes to register. Cycles are 8-10 weeks, during which volunteers spend an average of 10-20 minutes a week to write 1 or 2 emails. 

Get matched up.

We match you to a third, fourth, or fifth-grade student in a low-income elementary school as near your office as possible. Our next cycle begins in January 2018. We will be working with schools in the Peninsula area.  

Get emails and answer them.

Topics are student lead. We encourage volunteers to be engaged and ask questions! In order to keep the program on track and allow the teachers to schedule time in class for students to respond, we ask that you respond within 48 hours.

Provide feedback.

We are constantly working to make our Dialog to Learn better! We will ask volunteers to fill out one or two short surveys throughout the program to better understand what works and where we can improve. But don’t worry, we are always around to answer questions and accept feedback.

Spread the word and support Dialog to Learn!

Do you like the program? Tell your friends! Get your coworkers involved! Become an ambassador! Donate so we can keep this program free for low-income schools! There are lots of ways to help support Dialog to Learn to help us reach even more students and volunteers! 

Do it again!

Did you enjoy helping local low income elementary school students improve their reading and writing skills? Do it again! We have several cycles throughout the year - get involved in all of them!


Dialog to Learn offers schools a way to tap into dialogue journaling, a tested learner-centered method for improving students’ reading, writing, and comprehension skills while engaging students in a fun, authentic learning experience. The program is designed to be compatible with existing classroom curriculum, easy to use, and minimal work for teachers. In addition to that, it only takes 20-30 minutes of precious class time a week!

Why kids need it

Little access to professional English

For many children in lower income neighborhoods and schools, English is often not spoken at home or on the playground. Due to residential patterns, students of low socioeconomic status and students who are not proficient in English are often concentrated in specific public schools. These public schools have huge demands placed upon them to close wide achievement gaps with limited resources. Given that these schools are under-resourced and are likely to remain so, we must develop instructional opportunities that do not involve significant funds but still provide academic support for these students in ways that their parents, teachers, and schools cannot.

Why teachers need it

They are outnumbered

Teachers are some of the most amazing people on this planet, and many of them know and love dialog journaling, but even they cannot implement it with over 30 students. While regular interactive writing between a teacher and students using “dialog journals” has shown great promise for at-risk students, this practice is not feasible for many teachers to sustain alone. By using email, the classroom doors are virtually opened for dialog journal interchanges. Private sector volunteers who can regularly engage students in constructive exchanges, expand students' opportunities to develop their English proficiency and advance their reading and writing abilities. Dialog to learn makes method possible, and effective.

Why professionals need it

It's hard to find the time to give back

Public schools and the private sector are disconnected, especially in low-income areas. They are connected through Dialog to Learn. We know volunteering is important to many of us. Unfortunately, schedules often don't allow for the level of commitment it takes to regularly visit a school or attend a program every other Saturday. You already check your email daily (all the time in our case). With just one or two extra emails a week, you can impact a student in your community. With Dialog to Learn, volunteers become a virtual member of the public school community and help students improve their reading and writing skills - skills vital to becoming professionals!