Lets Be Ready

by Lets Be Ready Vetted since 2011 Site Visit Verified
Having a blast working with numbers!
Having a blast working with numbers!

Hi everybody! It’s been a busy start to the year, but it’s been a lot of fun so far. We’ve been working hard and diligently with our students trying to teach them in a way that’s understanding, fun and effective. Even though the number of days in the school year may seem daunting at the beginning of the year, time has flown by! Our kids have already learned a lot and are eager to continue to learn more.

In the different schools that we have, all of our teachers strive to come to class early and teach in a creative manner using our special curriculum. In regards to our “Star Book” series, each teacher works from our original activity guide, designed to get the most out of each and every book and spark a love for learning in our students. While these activities are outlined in a clear manner for the teacher to use, our teachers’ creativity is more than welcomed and often put to the test. If they think that they came up with a better activity than the one that put in the book, we want them to try it out and if it works we’ll add it to the program!

Aside from learning about numbers and insects with the help of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or wild animals in From Head to Toes, or colors in Harold and the Purple Crayon, many of our schools have begun teaching the vowels. Our teachers also make sure that students develop their fine motor skills by either using playdough to for different hand exercises, making works of art out of balled up tissue paper, cutting with scissors and or teaching proper technique for writing and drawing. The progress is undeniable. Our kids are drawing outside of the lines less often and are more creative every day.

We’ve also spent time teaching about our bodies and the importance of taking care of ourselves. We’ve worked on discussing water and just how important it is to all of us. During the physical education portion of class, we try to hone our children’s equilibrium and overall coordination through different games and activities. We have a lot more to teach and more ideas that we’d love to discuss with you all, but we’ll save that for next month. Thank you for your support of our program and our children; they’re the future of our country.

We’d also like to give a special thank you to Dailen from Global Giving who recently came along for a visit to two of our classrooms in the communities of Los Izotes and San Antonio in Santo Domingo Xencoj. Thank you Dailen and Global Giving for your support!

Making a puzzle out of the human body
Making a puzzle out of the human body
Some children can already recognize the vowels
Some children can already recognize the vowels
Dailen from Global Giving at the Los Izotes school
Dailen from Global Giving at the Los Izotes school
During Spring Break this year, I traveled with my wife, Lisa, and two daughters to Guatemala for a family vacation and to visit the school that our family supports for the organization Lets Be Ready. We had a great  time! If you have never traveled to Guatemala- please consider it. Not only is it very inexpensive for Americans to travel there, the country is simply gorgeous with its mountains and Mayan culture. You would be hard pressed to find a prettier city than Antigua. 
That being said, our primary purpose was to both deliver school supplies that we collected and to pay a visit to our school in Patzicia. The teacher at our Lets Be Ready School, Nery, is fantastic. He writes us every month with an update and send pictures regarding what the students have been doing. He is making amazing progress with these rural Pre K Mayan children . We received a hero's welcome upon arrival (although I consider the Lets Be Ready staff and teachers to be the true heros!) and had fun interacting with all the students. Nery gave a short speech on the importance of the work and how grateful the community was for our donations. Next, some of the mothers gave a short talk , expressing their gratitude. Nery insisted that I offer a few word in my halting Spanish. 
My twin 13 year old daughters had grumbled earlier about going on a "cultural " trip, but I can assure you they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and "got it" that what they were doing was not only important for the  school but for their own personal development. 
 This is my  5th consecutive year to visit both Guatemala and "our" school. I look forward to the trip every year and enjoy some of the simple fundraisers we do back home to raise money. I am certain  that we (the Reed family) are   getting as much out of our trip as the Guatemalans are. If not more. 

This is a copy of an email from Margarita Bejerano, one of our teachers to her sponsor. The teachers send them every month.

Hello, Marshon 
How are you? I hope it's ok…

To start I want to tell you our first day of school was an adventure, the children had fun and began to adapt; play, dance, we sing and read a story.

The first week was adaptive, so that children interact with more children and become familiar with the activities taking place at school.

We begin with the recognition of his name, showing them that there are letters and a group of letters form a word or a name; later, he will recognize his name and recognize the initial starting with his name.

We learned that there is a time to tell a story and that we must pay close attention to reading to answer questions that the teacher will ask. Since the program started with the "Star Books", we began with the story of "Hungry Caterpillar" and performed an activity:Children drew their own caterpillar with paint, making huellitas with their index finger.

We learned what the rules of conduct that we have at school. We must share and collaborate in school as needed. We also learned to follow instructions and to use the learning corners.

Finally this month we learned a lot that we need still to practice and continue practicing. I am very happy to return to a classroom and to teach.

I also tell you that now children of the morning moved in the afternoon with us. They are with Anaelisse, so now we have 23 children in the afternoon, but we are two teachers in charge of the group, Anaelisse and me. We have already organized and divided the children into 4 groups to do the routine and to have a better organization. I will keep telling you more about this in the month of March so you know what else we're doing.

Here shows pictures of the children who are with me and what we did in this last month.

A Let
A Let's Be Ready Community Classroom


A partnership between Let’s Be Ready and the University of Redlands in Southern California is seeking to address the problem of early detection of language-learning disabilities in Guatemalan preschool children. Barbara Conboy, Ph.D., professor of Communicative Disorders at Redlands, is leading a research project to establish a method of interviewing the parents of 3-year-old children in order to screen for slow language development and determine which children need a follow-up language evaluation. The oral interviews are being conducted in Spanish and/or Kaqchikel by Let’s Be Ready staff. In the case of children who are bilingual in Kaqchikel and Spanish, language skills in both languages are being measured via a questionnaire that was developed for Spanish-speaking children in Mexico.

The next step of the research project will be to determine with what accuracy these parental interviews, conducted before children’s 4th birthdays, identify children with specific language impairment. For that phase of the project, the results of the interviews will be compared with the results of a short storytelling task completed when the children are several months older. Dr. Conboy hopes that the questionnaires will allow all children enrolled in LBR preschool classes to be screened for language problems during the pre-registration process.

She adds, “I'm also hoping to expand my research to include story-retelling activities that take about 5 minutes to do. I think that this could be an excellent addition to the evaluations that Margarita has been doing, since children are not penalized for not knowing particular words that they have not been exposed to (as is what happens with formal tests that are normed on children in other countries, such as the Bracken). Instead, they can use their own words, Spanish, Kaqchikel, or both, and be scored on different elements of the stories. Even better, teachers can be trained to do this.”

Margarita in San Antoio
Margarita in San Antoio
Betzabe interviewing a mother
Betzabe interviewing a mother
Boy using literacy materials
Boy using literacy materials

Searching for statistics on literacy rates of Guatemala, I stumbled across the following. Would you believe that the criteria for a literate person in a third world country is “one who can read and write a short simple statement about their everyday life”?

The goal of Let’s Be Ready is for every student to develop a love for reading and learn the basic skills necessary to begin reading. We expect them to continue to read throughout their life and develop their full potential, while participating as an active citizen.

Let’s Be Ready holds the bar high and works to insure that all students age 4-6 know their letters and sounds and have the opportunity to begin to read in pre-school.

With the help of reading specialist, Sharon Carlson from People of Guatemala we are one step closer to our goal.

Sharon has developed a very specialized phonetic technique using sounds, instead of introducing letters. Students are taught beginning and ending sounds and in this way begin reading.

Teachers were amazed to see how quickly kids caught on to this innovative technique. Having a variety of methods to teach reading skills gives teachers the tools to insure the success of every student. Enjoy the pictures.

Girl using literacy materials
Girl using literacy materials
More literacy materials
More literacy materials

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Organization Information

Lets Be Ready

Location: Longmont, CO - USA
Website: http:/​/​letsbeready.org
Project Leader:
Fred Zambroski
phoenix, Arizona United States

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