Every day at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, we see children come through the doors of the Clubs to participate in our afterschool programs where they can learn about the Arts, take part in leadership development opportunities, learn to develop skills using computers programs, develop healthy habits and decision making skills, or even play a game of basketball or foosball. Yet some of the most important programs we offer our members center around education; including homework assistance, remaining on target for graduation, and targeted literacy programs designed to provide instruction for the 20% of youth who learn best through a multisensory approach.
The children who take part in our Literacy programs participate an average of 3 days a week in small group settings where literacy instruction is provided that engages the simultaneous use of a child's senses of sight, sound and kinesthetic movement. Children are taught by a certified Literacy instructor with a focus on reading and writing skills, and tracking a child's improvement to ensure that they are progressing toward meeting benchmark goals. For children with learning differences, this method of teaching has been shown to greatly improve their ability to process and retain information. We personally see the impact upon these children each and every day, not only their improved reading and writing skills, but an improvement in their self esteem, their outlook on school, and their attitudes toward life and their future.
Below are copies of two testimonial letters recently received by parents of two of these children…
I wish to thank you dearly for your involvement in the Literacy Program for my son John. He has shown an amazing progress since he has joined the Literacy Program (at the Boys & Girls Club). I am very much an avid reader, and have always expressed the importance of reading to my child. Growing up I would read stories to him daily, and teach him to sound out words, however my busy schedule at work has made it very difficult for me to spend such valued time with him.
Prior to entering the Literacy Program, I would observe how my son would struggle with many words, and he would easily become tired, and simply give up within the first two to three pages of a book. For the average 2nd grader and upon review with his elementary school teacher, I had learned that my son was behind in his reading skills. This information had affected by son’s level of self confidence, and motivation. As a mother it hurt me deeply, for it was difficult for me to hear my child feel as if he was failing behind his peers.
These feelings began to change when my son was invited to join the Literacy Program. During his time attending, my son has progressed very well in his reading skills. Every day he is reading on his own, he no longer struggles to pronounce words, or gives up from feeling overwhelmed at the amount of words on a page that he has to read. He has shown more confidence in himself, and I do enjoy how much he talks about what he has done or learned in the Literacy programs three times per week. I believe that it has been very helpful that there is an instructor focusing on a small group of children at a time, for the way that schools are structured today, you will only have one teacher focusing on a large number of children who need a lot of attention, and not every child would get the help that they deserve to learn and do well. This, I believe is the cause of why many of our children fall back in their grades and get left behind.
My son has also become more social with his peers, in which before he had a very difficult time socializing with other children, and there is also a sense of renewed hope in him. I cannot stress how much this program means to my son and myself. I feel that this is a valuable program, and a program that truly shows numbers in improvement academically. In a time where our schools are struggling to provide the amount of exclusive focus and education to our children, it will be detrimental to our future if such programs did not exist. Your program provides skill building, for my son has also progressed in his writing skills, he now seems to prefer to want to write in cursive, and has also improved his penmanship, it also promotes independence and productivity.
John looks forward to coming to your class every day. I have greatly enjoyed discussing subjects that he has also learned like biology. He has a notebook at home where he had drawn a schematic diagram of the knee cap. To see an eight year old boy developing such skills is very impressive and remarkable. Thank you so much for what you have done for my son. He wishes to continue his education ad become a school teacher. What I see in my son is that he continues to strive to do better in school. It is not because he believes that he should for me or anyone else in his family, even though he enjoys our many praises. It is because he believes that he can do it. I feel that the most valuable asset for our children is for them to be in the state of mind where they will have self confidence, and believe that there is no obstacle that they cannot overcome.
Dear Literacy Instructor,
My daughter Amanda is currently enrolled in the Literacy Program at the Boys & Girls Club. This program has had a huge impact on my daughter and has helped her become more efficient in her reading and ability to maintain interest in reading.
Amanda has ADHD, she had a hard time concentrating long enough to be able to read at the beginning of the year. It used to be really hard for her to even attempt to sound out words on her won, before she would get frustrated and become very emotional, lowering her self esteem over not being able to sit and read like her other classmates.
Since Amanda was enrolled into the literacy group she has been reading chapter books, and is able to sound out long difficult words on her own. She is able to concentrate better as she is in a smaller group of kids then in her classroom at school and feels more confident that she will get the helps she needs, when she needs it.
You have had such a great relationship with my daughter that has really helped my whole family, I can’t imagine where my daughter would be if it wasn’t for your excellent desire to educate and help those who are struggling. This program has not only allowed my daughter to feel great about herself as a person but has helped her academically reach a higher level in her classroom at school as well.
The Literacy Program is one of the best programs that my daughter has been enrolled in and should be done every year to help children in need.
The small group setting, the ability to have an awesome teacher who supports them during frustrating times, rewards them for jobs well done, and being able to meet frequently, really has helped my daughter overcome the insecurities and feelings of embarrassment that she is not at the same level as her peers.
I look forward to watching Amanda become a strong reader and confident with herself by getting the support she needs.
Thank you for all you do for my little one.