TED Native Youth Project, “Growing Readers & Developing Leaders” continues to progress
Gila River Indian News
There is no question that learning to read early helps children in their academic success. One program that is focused on helping to promote youth literacy is the Tribal Education Department’s Native Youth Project, “Growing Readers & Developing Leaders” (GRDL).
The Growing Readers & Developing Leaders project under the Tribal Education Department (TED) just completed its second year and is continuing its four-year plan to give a literacy boost to the Community by providing more books to be put in the homes of Community members. This will better prepare children for a successful life and academic achievements.
An average of only 38 percent of children are ready to read for kindergarten. GRDL is looking to change that within the Community. GRDL introduced its four goals, one: “Create/grow reading habits in the home by distributing culturally relevant books and encourage parent engagement.”
During the wrap up of their second year, they successfully distributed a total of 35,552 books across GRIC between March 2017 – October 2018. Based on their data collected, they reached 133 in the Community which has created and increased their family engagement with reading to their children from 53 percent to 80 percent.
Second goal: “establish a demonstration preschool to expand high quality education and share best practices with all preschools.” A preschool classroom was offered to 18 students in August 2017 at Blackwater Community School. Data collected, showed that 100 percent of the students showed an increase in language, literacy and communication skills while also having the O’otham language integrated.
Third goal: “engage students K-8 in STEM based, print rich activities that promote a self-determined reading habit outside of the classroom.” Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming was offered to Gila Crossing Community School, Sacaton Public School and Blackwater Community School students.
Fourth goal: “establish a cross-sector, professional learning community that build the capacity of schools and existing community organizations to overcome the barriers of book scarcity to close the achievement gap.” Professional development trainings were provided to the partnered school teachers, assessing their competency in effective strategies for engaging students and teaching styles that focus on increasing student learning.
Growing Readers & Developing Leaders would also like to introduce their new staff; Sienna Whittington, Project Manager and Charlotte Forte, Literacy Coordinator. GRDL is excited to continue meeting project goals for grant year 3 and its success with the Community.
They will be looking to reach at least 100 more parents/grandparents with children 0-5-years- old to participate in a 4-8 week Growing a Reader workshops that are one-hour long where families will learn literacy strategies. There’s always a snack provided and children will receive free books at each session. The workshops are tentatively scheduled to begin in March and they will also be offering the workshops continuously through September.
For more information about Growing Readers & Developing Leaders and to sign up for the Growing Reader workshops please contact: (520) 562-3362 or email: Charlotte.Forte.EDU@gric.nsn.us