Philadelphia is experiencing a literacy crisis; our schoolchildren are consistently posting some of the nation's lowest reading scores. In 2017, more than 39% of third graders in Philadelphia public schools scored below proficiency on state-mandated tests. This does not bode well: low-income, struggling readers are six times more likely to drop out than their proficient peers.
Achieve Now is working to change these statistics. We recruit and train adult volunteers and older peers to lead struggling K-2 readers through a systematic sequence of phonics lessons, ensuring children receive the foundational skills that studies have shown lead to significant reading gains. Last year, our students improved their grade level reading by just over three grades, on average. This year, we hope to see even better results!
Beyond the improvements in reading skills, our students also gain a mentor through our program - their reading coach. One great example of the potential in this pairing is Jennifer Laws and her student, Jacqueline (pictured above).
"I truly love Thursday mornings!" Jennifer Laws is quick to share her favorite time during the work week: when the students from a second grade class come to the offices at CHUBB, and Jennifer gets to coach Jacqueline.
Jacqueline made incredible gains in her reading this year, increasing her decoding score by 43% ! Jennifer gives major credit to Jacqueline for "being such a good listener and [having] so much interest." We credit the work that both the student and coach have put into the material, as well as their relationship!
Relationships are an important part of learning. Students are more responsive and engaged in what they are being taught when it's coming from someone they like and with whom they have built a relationship. It's in building this positive learning environment where Jennifer seems to have really succeeded. "Jacqueline and I really get each other’s method," she explains, "and that makes teaching and learning flow smoothly." The reading specialist who supports them, Alex Winnick adds that, "It was clear from the first few sessions that Jacqueline and Jennifer were forming a great partnership; Jennifer's warm and thoughtful coaching style allowed Jacqueline to become comfortable with a new environment very quickly."
This is Jennifer's second year of coaching and she looks forward to continuing to be a coach. "I love being a part of the Achieve Now program and would love to continue as long as I can. I feel inspired in so many ways to continue this as well as possibly making it a part of my life."
Our goal is to raise $25,000 to ensure that we will be able to offer hundreds of students a full slate of literacy coaching for the 2018-19 school year.
No amount is too small; however, a single donation of $165 assures one student a full year in the program. A $500 gift guarantees that three Philadelphia children receive an entire year of high-quality literacy coaching. A $4,000 contribution provides 25 students a full year in the program.
Thank you for helping Philadelphia students Achieve Now!
- Celina Fong -Kairschner
- John Guerrieri
- John Guerrieri
- Anne Rogers
- james biniasz
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