Carlos smiles after learning 220 sight words. Children in FAAP’s programs are given flash cards to practice at home and Dr. Seuss books to help learn these words. Sight words are a group of words that are important for young readers and account for a large percentage of the words in print. Approximately 50% of reading text is made up of the same words. These words appear so frequently that it is critically important that children can read them automatically. Many of these words have unusual spelling patterns and cannot be sounded out phonetically or be easily identified by using context or picture clues.
Junior and Miss Sue
Junior and his reading mentor, “Miss Sue”, worked together every week from October-April in our Second Grade Reading Mentor Program. When they began in the fall, he was not reading at grade level. They started reading books from our leveled reading series. Week by week, they progressed to books written at a slightly higher level while working on comprehension, vocabulary, and the 220 most frequently used words. By January, Junior was able to read library books at home and pass comprehension quizzes on the computer. He was very motivated to earn FAAP dollars by working hard with his mentor, returning library books, and taking reading comprehension tests to reach his classroom reading goal. In May, we were thrilled to learn that Junior and Miss Sue’s hard work paid off. His reading level had improved from 1.4 to 3.6.
In this photo, Angelica’s smile shows how successful she feels at reaching her personal goal which was to read every book on this shelf. Each week, FAAP Reading Mentors assist their students in finding a book to check out and take home to read. Experts agree that developing the habit of reading for 20 minutes each day is critically important. Each mentoring session, students are able to earn FAAP dollars for doing their best work with their mentor, returning library books, and passing short comprehension quizzes on books at their reading level.
Students in our Second Grade Reading Mentor Program have significantly improved their reading ability according to testing completed by the school staff. Many students improve one to two grade levels in six months. Our most dedicated and consistent Reading Mentor is Troy Wallace. During the week he is an investment advisor, but once a week, Troy leaves his busy office to come to an elementary school in Aurora to help one child become a better reader. For eleven years, every one of his students has improved their reading. Ten out of eleven of his students improved at least one grade level. This year, Troy’s student passed reading comprehension tests on more books at his reading level than any other student in our programs. He improved from grade level 1.1 to 2.3 and his story is remarkable because his primary language is Bengali.