When many of the children started coming to the Springfield Family Resource Center they were below their reading level and didn’t know how to pronounce or write many words. “Maria,” an upcoming 5th grader, always asked for help with language arts. Once Maria started working on her homework with the program coordinator, the coordinator soon realized that Maria wasn’t simply frustrated by the assignment–she was even having trouble reading the instructions. So, the coordinator gave Maria literature comprehension worksheets to help improve her reading skills. Maria showed some progress, but once the school year ended she stopped reading.
During the summer, Maria met a Safe Youth Project volunteer named Lisa who had special reading materials from her time as a teacher. She decided to practice group reading with the kids. Maria and her peers clammed up at first when Lisa asked for volunteers to read, but after a couple of days everyone warmed to the idea and they were eager to give it a try — including Maria.
Now, with Lisa’s help, Maria’s hand is the first to shoot up when something needs to be read aloud, and when she doesn’t know a word she sounds it out instead of asking Lisa to read it for her. Maria’s reading comprehension has improved, too. Rather than simply sounding out all of the words, Maria speaks comfortably and confidently, pausing after sentences and commas. With just a bit of extra help, Maria was able to improve her reading skills at Second Story.