As a direct result of donor investments, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland have successfully expanded Literacy programs into six site locations across the Portland metro area. Each of the six Literacy Centers were equipped with brand new Dell workstations, essential software programs specifically designed to assist struggling readers and youth with dyslexia, and HP desktop scanners (used in conjunction with software programs). A combined total of 42 Dell desktop computers for youth, 7 Dell computers for literacy staff, 6 HP Desktop scanners, and software programs were installed across the six Literacy Center locations in Portland.
Each of these tools has enriched the literacy programs enabling BGCP to implement a best practice model which has effectively engaged youth in the learning process. Though the Slingerland Approach is the primary method of instruction used by staff in the Literacy Centers, the use of on-line programs provides youth self paced, fun, and interactive opportunities designed to specifically enhance their learning process. These unique programs, used in schools across the country, were specifically researched and selected to enhance academic success of youth and to benefit those with learning differences, such as dyslexia.
Kurzweil 3000: Kurzweil 3000 is a comprehensive reading, writing and learning software solution for any struggling reader, including individuals with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder or those who are English Language Learners. This unique program offers access to any curriculum, whether it is printed, electronic, or on the Web. With the aid of visual and auditory feedback, the software helps students keep up with assigned reading, learn critical study skills and successfully complete writing projects and tests. The program also provides students with word decoding support; reading words aloud to the student in clear, human like, synthetic speech, while a patented dual highlighting feature adds visual reinforcement. Kuzweil 3000 also offers writing and self-editing tools; as students type, the software speaks each letter or word, so they can quickly recognize and correct spelling mistakes. Kurweil 3000 also enables students with the ability to independently complete worksheets, classroom tests and standardized tests with greater confidence and fewer mistakes.
iStation: With the installation of computers in each of the Literacy Centers, providing the essential tools necessary to support on-line educational programs, BGCP was successful in leveraging a valuable addition to the literacy programs; called iStation. iStation Reading is a data-driven reading intervention program for students in Pre-K through Grade 5. iStation Reading promotes reading acceleration and progress through a high-interest online interactive curriculum. The iStation Reading Program is a comprehensive reading and intervention program developed using scientifically based reading research. It helps schools ensure their students learn to read by automating progress monitoring, individualizing instruction on the computer and in the classroom and providing district, school, class and student reports that categorize risk and show skill growth.
With the addition of new computers and programs such as iStation and Kurzweil 3000 to enhance the Multisensory instruction provided at each of the Literacy Centers, both instructors and participating youth are benefiting from the latest technology and advancements in the field of reading and literacy support.
The expansion of Literacy Centers has impacted BGCP as an organization in several ways. The focus upon Literacy certainly has expanded our physical reach to combat this important issue, it has developed many key partnerships with experts in the field of education and learning differences on a local and national level, and it has helped to raise the awareness of an issue that extends far beyond the boundaries of Portland. Yet, most importantly it has enabled BGCP to impact the lives of youth who truly need such targeted support, strengthening their academic and life success, improving their self-esteem and bringing them hope—we see the difference in their faces each and every day.