Children often get frustrated when they are challenged in difficult subjects, but at The Cabbage Patch, they know that perseverance and patience will be rewarded. The Patch’s reading program was created after it was identified that many of our elementary school members were behind in their reading skills by at least a grade level. Because these students struggled with reading, books were no fun. We wanted to put the excitement and adventure back into reading, and foster a sense of dedication and commitment when it comes to learning.
Educational Opportunities Specialist Brandi decided to reach out to parents who wanted to see their kids improve a grade level or more in reading. A core group of readers formed and met for about an hour twice a week. Using the Kentucky Core Standards for Elementary Reading as a guideline, staff and volunteers structured the program around making reading fun while relearning basic skills. We focused on developing fluency, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and writing skills by reading collaboratively and playing reading games or doing crafts.
One activity that the kids really enjoyed was reading and performing plays. Readers Theatre became a staple activity of the reading group after Recreation and Youth Development Specialist Melanie let the group borrow several plays written by Patch members. One 5th grader wrote many plays that were performed in the library by the group. It was fun for the kids to act and perform, but it also helped improve their fluency as they had to read and re-read the script for each rehearsal, developing confidence in speaking complicated words.
The reading group culminated in a visit to Carmichael’s Kids bookstore where they each selected a book of their own to read and take home. Now we have a group of students who have not only improved their reading skills, but have also discovered how books indulge the imagination and help their dreams run wild. Can you remember a book from your childhood that set your mind free?