Expansion of Literacy Programs

by Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area
Feb 8, 2013

2012-2013 Program Year

Developing Writing Skills
Developing Writing Skills

The Literacy Intervention Programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area (BGCP) were first established in 2006 with the implementation of the Harris Literacy Center at the Meyer Boys & Girls Club. Today, there are a total of six (6) Literacy Centers located within Club facilities throughout the Portland metro area, and one (1) pull-out program being operated in partnership with Rosa Parks Elementary School (Portland Public Schools). The Literacy Center programs are available to all Club members ages 6 to 18, and serve an average of 250 youth annually who participate in a Targeted Literacy Intervention program, and an additional 1,000 youth who receive additional academic support. The Targeted Literacy Intervention programs provide instruction which emphasizes a multisensory approach to language arts, with the emphasis of keeping all youth engaged in learning and on track for proper grade progression and future graduation. 

At the start of each program year, each of the Literacy Centers at each Club provides an assessment to elementary-aged youth members to measure their reading and writing proficiency. Based upon the outcomes of these assessments youth are categorized into one of three areas: 1) on target for meeting grade level benchmarks, 2) at some risk of meeting grade level benchmarks, or 3) at risk of reading grade level benchmarks. Based upon these scores, and with the cooperation of parents/guardians, youth are enrolled into a yearlong Literacy program, which they are required to participate in three to four days a week for an hour a day.

For an elementary student who is struggling with reading and writing development, their struggle can be the catalyst for many devastating challenges.  They struggle with self-esteem and confidence, anger and frustration (in and out of the classroom). Research clearly demonstrates that the ability to read, and read well is essential for life success. At the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, we are committed to ensuring that every child in our care has the opportunities to succeed and fulfill their hopes and dreams.

The following testimony comes from a parent and highlights the impact of these programs upon a 3rd grade participant in the program.

Dear Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland,

My daughter Anna is currently enrolled in the Literacy Program at the Boys and 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.

Anna has ADHD, she had a hard time concentrating long enough to be able to read at the beginning of this year. It used to be really hard for her to even attempt to sound out words on her own, 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 Anna 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 help she needs, when she needs it.

Ms. Emily (the Literacy Instructor) has 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 Ms. Emily's 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 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 Anna become a strong reader and confident with herself by getting the support she needs.

Thank you for all you do for my little one.

For the past three years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland have tracked and reported on the outcome measurements of hundreds of youth who have participated in the program with tremendous successes. We are greatly  encouraged with the outcomes of the 2011-2012 measurements which demonstrated the following achievements among participants.

  • 2nd graders participating in Boys & Girls Club afterschool programs demonstrated gains of 72% in reading proficiency since the start of the program year.
  • 3rd graders participating in Boys & Girls Club afterschool programs demonstrated gains of 50% in reading proficiency since the start of the program year.
  • 4th graders participating in Boys & Girls Club afterschool programs demonstrated gains of 40% in reading proficiency since the start of the program year.
  • 5th graders participating in Boys & Girls Club afterschool programs demonstrated gains of 43% in reading proficiency since the start of the program year.

The support of these programs is essential to ensure that youth who are struggling in the area of reading and writing development have the tools to overcome their challenges and are able to achieve life success. Every dollar counts and every donor is a champion!



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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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