Books & Breakfast

The longstanding Books & Breakfast program offers a nutritious breakfast and homework help to K-5 students at Evanston’s Dewey, Lincolnwood, and Kingsley elementary schools. This program currently serves approximately 30-40 kids per day at each school, equating to more than 12,000 breakfasts per year.

Participating in Books & Breakfast means kids start their day not only fortified in body, but also buoyed by the support of an inclusive and caring community. Tutors help with homework and support students socially and emotionally.

Through partnership with Books & Breakfast and Leadership Development and Community Engagement, Northwestern students can apply their global learning locally, exploring issues of education equity, community development dynamics, and socioeconomic issues in surrounding neighborhoods.

What's it Like Participating in Books & Breakfast?

Watch this video below to learn more about the program from both tutors and students.

(Credit: Books & Breakfast from joe lim)

About the Tutor Positions

Northwestern tutors are hired for the full academic year; each tutor works 2-3 days per week, depending on their scheduled shift (M/W/F or T/Th), which can change each quarter based on class schedules. Read schedule details for more information.


  • Commit to being punctual and present for all assigned sessions.
  • Mentor youth during their weekday morning Books & Breakfast program by providing homework help, reading with students, offering emotional support, and ensuring students receive a nutritious breakfast.
  • Provide a supportive, nurturing environment for youth.
  • Work closely with parent volunteers and coordinators from Dewey or Lincolnwood Elementary, assisting with program evolution, design, and improvement.
  • Attend training and enrichment sessions (approximately 6 paid hours per quarter); these might include classroom observations, meetings with the school's principal, or general training on best practices of homework help, mentoring youth, and the education system.
  • Organize a Books & Breakfast at Northwestern Day where NU tutors lead students around campus to meet with professors, student groups, and more in order to learn more about college.
  • Participate in community development, thinking creatively, compassionately, and strategically about parental and community involvement in the program.

Required Qualifications

  • Background working with youth in a structured setting (mentoring, tutoring, working as a camp counselor, etc.). Tutoring experience is helpful but not required.
  • Commitment to the mission of the Books & Breakfast program and to serving youth in the Evanston community.
  • Highly reliable, punctual, and able to work with a wide variety of people and age groups.
  • A desire to think creatively about program improvements and ways to increase connectivity between Northwestern University and the Evanston and Dewey, Lincolnwood, and Kingsley communities.
  • Preferred but not required: Career interest in working with youth in some capacity (teaching, non-profit, etc.).
  • Preferred but not required: Spanish proficiency (many students in the program speak Spanish, and Dewey, specifically, has many dual-language classrooms).



Reporting Structure

Northwestern tutors will report first to Northwestern coordinators for matters related to hours, payment, hiring, and general support. The tutors will report second to the Books & Breakfast Executive Director, Kim Hammock, and site directors at each elementary school. The executive director manages NU tutors’ duties and responsibilities during morning sessions.


The application to become a Books and Breakfast tutor for the 2019-2020 academic year has closed. 
Applications will open again for the 2020-2021 academic year in May 2020.

Questions? Email Val Buchanan.

Weekly Schedule

Each tutor works 2-3 days per week. Tutors will be hired for either Monday/Wednesday/Friday mornings or for Tuesday/Thursday mornings.

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 8–9 a.m. (3 hours per week)
  • Or Tuesday/Thursday: 8–9 a.m. (2 hours per week)

In addition to these regular sessions, NU students are expected to participate in training, classroom visits, and enrichment sessions (approximately 6-9 hours per quarter). Students will be paid for this time. These sessions might include classroom visits, training on best practices of teaching/mentoring, visits with the principal, and others.

Because of the nature of this position, students must attend all of their scheduled sessions. In the event of illness or emergency, the student is responsible for finding a substitute from the team of Northwestern tutors.