Reading Growth!

Chris wearing some awesome face paint on the last day of the after-school program!

Chris wearing some awesome face paint on the last day of the after-school program!

This has been at incredible year at Pleasant Mound for seeing growth and development in our After School Program participants. One of our students that has grown the most is Christopher, a 1st grade student and twin sibling to Christiana.

As early as September we began to notice some differences between these two siblings. Christiana picked up reading activities and got through her homework very quickly. Chris was slower, sometimes taking the entire afternoon to complete what seemed like simple homework for a first grade level. We began to talk to Chris and Christiana’s mother, and she said she too had started to notice this at home and asked for our help in trying to be aware of what Chris may be struggling with. After we had Chris and Christiana take their first diagnostic reading test on i-Ready (our internet-based reading program), we noticed a huge gap between the two. Christiana scored at level while Chris was behind. We decided to make it our mission this year to really focus on Chris and his reading and to get him on level by the end of the year.

By December, I was having Chris practice reading with me, and I notice he was mixing up his B’s and D’s. I began to wonder if the problem was dyslexia. I spoke with his mother, and we had Chris tested at school. The result came back that he was not dyslexic but needed more practice than the other first graders with reading at home. Coming back to the program in January, I made it my mission to find activities for Chris to learn B’s and D’s and not to mix them up anymore. In February, we had a huge breakthrough by teaching Chris to learn b and d by looking at his two hands (showing a thumbs up) in front of him. I explained his left hand was a b and his right hand was a d. We drilled this into Chris’s head, and sure enough by early March Chris was able to do this on his own. This was a big success because we learned that Chris needs visual examples in learning how to read. The more visual we can make reading, the faster Chris learns. This realization was huge for Chris’ mother to know and communicate with his teachers. Chris improved so much this year that the interns and I agreed to give away one of our site computers we use for reading enrichment to him and his sister Christiana. When we told their mother we were doing this, she was overjoyed and so happy to have a way for Chris and Christiana to keep learning at home. I am so excited for both Chris and Christian to be enrolled in our summer program and to see how much they will grow and learn by the end of summer. 

Hannah Escalante
Site Coordinator
Pleasant Mound UMC

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