As we all have faced difficultites during the pandemic, we look into ways to create collaborations and relationships with organizations and schools that have the same passion for the education in Puerto Rico. For such, we bridged out to create alliances with the vision that this could serve and impact students in the island.
With such in mind we started a series of 6 workshops on literacy, how the brain reads, phonological awareness, and structured approach to reading, among other topics. The teachers received knowledge, practice, and materials for them to put the learning into practice when the students come back to their classrooms in August, 2021.
To continue building those bridges, teachers from other communities with educational disadvantages were also invited and donation of materials and books was made for their tutoring centers.
We also continue to provide services throught our reading clinic, at this time still virtual throughout the intensive summer camp and very hopeful that we could start face to face starting August.
As we embark into new initiatives, we've set the goal of serving and providing more professionals the much needed awareness of structured literacy in Spanish. Our fundraising goal for the next academic year will be with such aim. We know that this will be the way to create a further impact in Puerto Rico.
School materiales donation at tutoring center
Mar 1, 2021
Reading Aloud: Creating Motivation to Read
By Yadira Sanchez - Executive Director
Dear MRC Friends, During February, we celebrated the national Read Aloud Day on February 3rd.
It has been proven that reading aloud to children helps them create interests in books and reading themselves. Adults can serve as models for this activity. The educational campaign done during the week of February 3rd consisted of 6 educational videos for teachers and parents as well as a live read aloud. The feedback from those who connected was very positive.
MRC wants to share some of the experiences from the last few months and plans ahead:
As part of read aloud we want parents and/or caregivers- We intend to foster parents and caregivers to take time to read to their children. Reading 15 minutes a day with your child can expose them to 83 thousand words in a month. Our brains are not born ready to learn to read. Just as you supported your child by lending a hand so they could walk. The reading brain needs you. READ to your child. TALK to your child about BOOKS. It will result in increased language skills; it will make a difference.
Coordinating new Teacher Training for Fall 2021- Due to the hurricanes, earthquakes and the pandemic, MRC has not dobe a Teacher Training in the last 2 years. We are excited to start planning the next one for the fall of 2021. We are searching for teachers interested in the program as well as scholarships for them.
Teachers cannot give to their students what they do not possess (known as the “Peter Effect”). Every teacher, no matter the subject area, teaches reading. Therefore, teachers deserve to be well versed in the Science of Reading and its implications for literacy instruction; only then will they be equipped to address the literacy needs of their students. For such, we intend to do so during our certification program this way impacting more students.
New administrative structure. Even with the challenges at hand our organization has grown in initiatives in the past few years. For this reason, we have expanded our administrative structure and have created an academic director position. This will allow the academic director to focus on teachers, reading clinic and teacher training among others. While the executive director will focus on logistics, strategic planning and fundraising.
Our first webinar this year was Motivation in Learning: Challenges Faced Now a Days; Dr. Patricia Landers, Clinical and School Psychologist discussed motivation as well as provided strategies for parents and teachers.
Our next webinar in March will be on Social-Emotional Learning in school as students re integrate to their school campus and new routines need to be addressed.
Reading Clinic | The reading clinic continues providing one-on-one intervention services (virtually) despite the challenges of COVID. Our enrollment during the 2020-21 remains stable. Stories of success from students who received services uninterruptedly between January until June reveal an improvement.
Summer Program| We have started planning our summer program sending surveys to parents and teachers. We will plan for virtual or on campus pending on the authorizations of school to use classrooms and they return to in class. We have a target of 30 students we wish to fullfill during this summer.
During October, we celebrated the national #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth. Dyslexia means “difficulty with words” and refers to the most common learning disability seen in approximately 17% of the student population. The lack of automatic word recognition skills often results in an inability to read with understanding, making the act of reading a failed one.
MRC wants to share some of our most important lessons learned during our years in the field of literacy:
For teacher preparation programs- Teachers cannot give to their students what they do not possess (known as the “Peter Effect”). The Science of Reading is based on research findings of over 30 years from the field of cognitive neuroscience. Every teacher, no matter the subject area, teaches reading.Therefore, teachers deserve to be well versed in the Science of Reading and its implications for literacy instruction; only then will they be equipped to address the literacy needs of their students.
For school administrators- Reading with comprehension requires both decoding and language comprehension skills. Language arts programs must offer instruction in both of these areas. Ideally we should be offering differentiated phonics instruction to students within language rich environments where students are constantly exposed to vocabulary and knowledge through books, books, books, and more books.
For educators- Automatic word recognition is the main difference between skilled and struggling readers. Being able to establish a link between pronunciation and meaning of words allows the brain to store words in its long term memory freeing up space to focus on comprehension. Teaching phonics in a systematic and explicit manner is a way to “even the playing field”. A child who has access to words will learn vocabulary and acquire knowledge.
For parents and/or caregivers- Our brains are not born ready to learn to read. Just as you supported your child by lending a hand so they could walk. The reading brain needs you. READ to your child. TALK to your child about BOOKS. It will result in increased language skills; it will make a difference. Just 15 minutes of reading with your child a day can expose them to 1 million written words in a year.
For local policy makers in Puerto Rico- By now public school students have missed approximately 165 days of school. Denying students access to education increases the likelihood of learning to read becoming a rich man’s game. Learning to read is having access to knowledge.Puerto Rico cannot afford leaving the future of this island behind.
#Webinars | We began this special month with a webinar by Dr. Tridas, "The Perfect Storm: Inattention, Dyslexia, and Anxiety". The discussion included the impact that these disorders have in the social emotional development and learning of students, as well as strategies for their management. The 88 participants walked away with a sense of responsibility for aiding students in developing coping mechanisms as “it is not our fault but it is our problem.”
#ReadingClinic | The reading clinic continues providing one-on-one intervention services (virtually) despite the challenges of COVID. Our enrollment during the 2020-21 remains stable. Stories of success from students who received services uninterruptedly between January until June reveal an improvement of two grade levels in word recognition, paired with an average increase of 60% in reading fluency and of 15% on comprehension measures.