Expansion of Literacy Programs

by Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area
Nov 2, 2012

Targeted Literacy Intervention Programs Kick off!

This project provides Targeted Literacy Intervention instruction for low-income youth, who have been identified as struggling readers or at risk of not meeting their appropriate grade level benchmark goals. These programs for the 2012-2013 program year are being offered through Literacy Centers which operate within two similar models; 1) in after school settings located at six Boys & Girls Club facilities across the Portland metro area, and 2) through an in-school pullout program in partnership with Portland Public schools, for students enrolled at Rosa Parks elementary school and serve a targeted group of more than 240 elementary-aged youth enrolled in second through fifth grades.

Providing early Literacy intervention is critical to impact the academic success of youth who demonstrate signs of struggling in the areas of reading and writing. Longitudinal studies show that among children who struggle with reading in the third grade, 74% remain struggling readers in the ninth grade. For this reason, the Literacy Centers provide these targeted literacy intervention program specifically designed to address the needs of elementary-aged youth, offering literacy instruction through a multisensory approach, which incorporates the three main modalities oif learning; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic movement.

Each of the Literacy Centers is operated by a trained certified Instructor who has completed or is in the process of completing a degree in elementary education or similar studies, and has also completed extensive training in the Slingerland Multisensory Approach to Language Arts. Literacy instructors develop hour-long lesson plans for small groups of 8 to 12 children that are both age and skill appropriate. Multiple small groups rotate into the Centers throughout the program day. Each Center conducts three to four small group sessions Monday through Friday. In the Portland area, poverty is the single greatest risk factor impacting  child's school preparedness, and once enrolled in school there are a number of factors that continue to impede their success:

• Only 40% of children living in poverty graduate

• Young people of minority are five times more likely to drop out

• Children from single parent homes are almost twice as likely to drop out.

Additionally, it is possible to project with better than 80% accuracy that a third grader will later drop out of school  based on any of the above factors, or due to the fact that the child is reading below grade level or has had to repeat a grade.

These contributing factors impact the vast majority of children who attend the Portland Clubs. From among our 14 Club sites, 12 of our locations reside within the poorest and lowest socio-economic and educational attainment areas of Portland. These communities experience high crime rates, increasing gang activity and violence, including drive by shootings that have even taken the lives of some of our own Club members in the past few years. At these locations, as many as 90% of children come from low-income families, nearly 84% of members are minorities, and nearly 60% come from single parent homes.

Currently in Portland, less than 59% of teens attending Portland Public Schools are graduating. To impact these devastating numbers, we must target children who show early signs of struggling with basic literacy skill development. Without proficient reading skills, many of these children are doomed to lifelong hardship with little potential for occupational, economic and social advancement. They are more likely to become a teen parent, end up in prison and suffer from persistent health problems. The aggressive and innovative approaches utilized by the Literacy Centers are designed to prevent and remediate reading difficulties for these children, providing them renewed hope and a foundation for the future.

Through the development of a Best Practices model, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area is designing a program that can be replicated in Clubs and afterschool programs across the nation. The implementation and delivery of these programs has included the collaboration of many local and national Guideline Fit partners. Some of these partners include: the Slingerland Institute (Bellevue, WA}, providing staff training and resources;
and Parks Elementary School, where BGCP operates an in-school literacy pull­ out program; iStation (Richardson Texas), providing online innovative educational programs; the International Dyslexia Association, providing support  and resources; the University of Oregon, Yale University, Harvard School of Education and many other experts in the field of youth education. Outreach efforts include partnerships with schools throughout Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas and Clark Counties, which are feeder schools for Club membership.

During the program year, a minimum total of 240 youth enrolled in 2nd through 5th grades will be tracked for outcome measurements through the Targeted Literacy Intervention programs. The following are the anticipated outcomes which are expected to be achieved in the 2012-2013 program year.

2nd graders will demonstrate the following outcomes; 80% are expected to demonstrate reading proficiency gains of 25% or greater. Among 2nd graders overall an expected gain of 70% in reading proficiency is anticipated.

3rd graders will demonstrate the following outcomes; 70% are expected to demonstrate reading proficiency gains of 25% or greater. Among 3rd graders overall an expected gain of 50% in reading proficiency is anticipated.

4th graders will demonstrate the following outcomes; 65% are expected to demonstrate reading proficiency gains of 25% or greater. Among 4th graders overall an expected gain of 40% in reading proficiency is anticipated.

5th graders will demonstrate the following outcomes; 50% are expected to demonstrate reading proficiency gains of 25% or greater. Among 5th graders overall an expected gain of 43% in reading proficiency is anticipated.

An outline of the assessment periods that will occur throughout the year is provided below. 

Pre-test - in the fall participants will take part in in two types of assessments: 1) DIBELS testing (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) will measure the Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) scores of all participants. 2) Slingerland Screening assessments will be provided to participants for the purpose of identifying each child's abilities in the areas of auditory, visual and kinesthetic modalities; critical to the development of strong literacy skills.

Mid-year-test - in the winter each participant will take part in mid-year DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency testing to gauge their progress 3 to 4 months into the program year.

Post-test - in the spring each youth will take part in two final year-end assessments, which repeat the pre­ testing that was administered at the start of the program year: 1) The first assessment is DIBELS testing, and provides a final (year-end) ORF score for all participants. 2) The second assessment involves a final Slingerland Screening teslThe outcome of these screenings is useful as a comparison to the tests performed at the start of the year to demonstrate a child's growth in the areas of visual, audio or kinesthetic learning processes.

Participant scores will be tracked through the use of the DIBELS database system provided by the University of Oregon to demonstrate achievements of participants throughout the program year. Outcomes of youth achievements will be reported in July/August of 2013.



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Organization Information

Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.bgcportland.org
Project Leader:
Daniel Laruendeau
Executive Development Officer
Portland, OR United States

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