Mission: The foundation is dedicated to enabling young children who at high risk of reading failure to become strong and enthusiastic readers, writers, listeners, and speakers and to develop the skills, habits, and behaviors that will support their success in school and in life.
Programs: The reading team preschool program is an intensive and multifaceted early literacy intervention that serives 500 children from neighborhood day care centers and head start programs. This program enables the children we serve to develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are developmental precursors to reading and writing. The children typically gain more than 50 percentiles in reading ability during their year in the program and finish the year above the 80th percentile in reading ability. They maintain those gains through the early elementary grades and they pass the new york state english language arts exam when they take it in third grade. Children in the reading team neighborhood schools have an average pass rate of 30% on this exam. The reading team after-school program serves 90 children in kindergarten through fifth grade who typically are referred to us by their teachers because they are struggling to keep up in the classroom andj_s_ometimes because_they have classroom behavior problems_as well. The reading team engages the children in a wide range of literacy-nurturing activities that enable them to gain more than 60 percentiles in reading ability their first year in the program. The children typically finish their kindergarten year above the 90th percentile in reading ability. They maintain those extraordinary gains through their early schooling and pass the new york state english language arts exam when they take it in third through fifth grades. Children in the reading team neighborhood schools have an average pass rate of 30% on this exam. The reading team parent programs help parents make better academic decisions and life choices for their children. Our elementary school advisory program advises and supports parents as they make important decisions about their children's schooling and a series of parent f:onversations teaches parents some simple and positive things they can do to support their children's developing literacy.
The Reading Team works because professional Literacy Mentors/Instructors ensure children master the basic building blocks of literacy success, before and after guided reading sessions occur. The curriculum contains comprehensive literacy activities and related enrichment exercises that are not dissipated by unrelated games-programming.
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The Reading Team makes a difference in the lives of hundreds of children. Many of them come from backgrounds where they do not have a lot of support at home or in school when it comes to literacy. This could be because their parents are immigrants and do not know how to speak English, it could be because their parents have multiple jobs and do not have a lot of time to read with them, it could be because their schools are under-funded and under-staffed, and it could be any sort of combination of these factors. Whatever the case, their parents trust them in the very capable hands of the people at The Reading Team. Not only do they help with literacy skills, they help these children cope with tough situations. The Reading Team supports the whole child, and teaches children how to deal with stress, and how to keep a positive attitude. Their sites are colorful and welcoming, making the children feel comfortable and excited to learn. I have seen children come to The Reading Team, lacking confidence in their own abilities as students, only to leave with smiles on their faces because they feel smart and confident. I cannot say enough about how The Reading Team supports children.
It's hard not to feel immediate admiration for this group. Maureen Rover is an inspiration. She took a hard look at an area that needed improvement and founded an organization that really helps struggling young Harlem children improve their reading skills so they not only catch up to their peers, but far exceed them. Basic reading and writing skills are key to success, and it is fantastic to see groups of young people excited to get a head start in their lives.