The 2011-2012 program year, marked the 6th year of Targeted Literacy Intervention programs being offered at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area (BGCP). The six Literacy Centers are located at each of the following Club locations:
- Meyer Boys & Girls Club, Portland/Sellwood (Multnomah County), opened in 2006.
- Regence Boys & Girls Club, North Portland (Multnomah County), opened in 2007.
- Blazers Boys & Girls Club, NE Portland (Multnomah County), opened in 2009.
- Wattles Boys & Girls Club, East Portland/Lents (Multnomah County), opened in 2009.
- Inukai Family Boys & Girls Club, Hillsboro (Washington County), opened in 2009.
- Jack, Will and Rob Boys & Girls Club, Camas, WA (Clark County), opened in 2009.
Since 2006, the operation of the Literacy Centers has been fully funded through the support of caring donors, including: private and public foundations, corporations, and investments from individuals.
Combined the six Literacy Centers served more than 2,000 youth during the last program year. The programs offered at the Literacy Centers are made available to all youth ages 6 to 18 who attend the Clubs, with each Center serving an average of 175 to 200 youth per week. During the year the Literacy Centers offered a wide array of academic enrichment programs, such as:
- Power Hour, a homework assistance program, (served 2,011 participants)
- Project Learn, high yield educational activities, (served 4,899 participants)
- Club Tech programs, development of computer literacy skills, (served 386)
- Money Matters, financial literacy skills, (served 174 participants)
- Career Launch, educational and career preparation programs, (served 207 participants)
- Targeted Literacy Intervention programs, for struggling readers (served 235 participants)
Additionally the Literacy Centers also provided on-line educational support tools, reading groups, and educational skill development programs; all designed to increase youth engagement in school and to improve academic success.
The BGCP Literacy Centers were established for the primary purpose of addressing an educational crisis in the Portland area, through providing a Targeted Literacy Intervention program component that is designed to support low-income elementary-aged youth who are struggling readers. During the 2011-2012 program year, a total of 235 youth took part in the Targeted Literacy Intervention program across the six site locations, and were tracked for the purpose of measuring reading proficiency outcomes.
The Targeted Literacy Intervention program operates Monday through Friday at each of the six Club locations and provides small group instruction that is both age and skill appropriate. Based upon national research which demonstrates the importance of developing early literacy skills, the Targeted Literacy Intervention program focuses upon youth enrolled in 2nd through 5th grades. Youth who attended the Targeted Literacy Intervention program participated in hour-long classroom instruction 3 to 4 days a week.
Since 2009, and through a partnership with the University of Oregon’s Center on Teaching and Learning, BGCP has utilized the standardized reading proficiency assessment, known as DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Early Literacy Skills) to evaluate pre-and-post test outcome measurements of all participants. DIBELS measures the reading proficiency of each child in relation to their current elementary grade level. DIBELS is recognized by educators throughout the nation as one of the most effective tools for measuring the reading proficiency of youth at each of the elementary grade levels.
The use of DIBELS assessments provide a clear outcome measurement as well as a demonstration of the gains made by each participant during the program year. Outcomes for 2nd through 5th grade participants for the past year included the following:
- 2nd grade youth participants demonstrated a median gain of 72% in reading improvement scores.
- 3rd grade youth participants demonstrated a median gain of 50% in reading improvement scores.
- 4th grade youth participants demonstrated a median gain of 40% in reading improvement scores.
- 5th grade youth participants demonstrated a median gain of 43% in reading improvement scores.
Thanks to the leadership and support of caring investors who provided support for program costs during the most recent 2011-2012 program year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland were able to expand the tracking of outcome measurements tied to the Targeted Literacy Intervention programs in the following ways; 1) BGCP was able to include a larger number of youth participants and also expand the tracking of outcome measurements that included two additional grade levels (4th and 5th grades), and 2) BGCP was able to implement a more extensive measurement of DIBELS outcomes, expanding from two assessment periods to a total of three separate assessments during the program year.