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13666 East 14th Street
San Leandro, CA 94578
A daily literacy extension activity is offered to the children in our first- and second-grade literacy program which focuses on comprehension and active listening during reading‚ and engaging learning experiences while children create hands-on projects related to the book they have read.
Number of Students Involved in This Activity: 40
Range of Student Ages: Six to eight years old
Duration of Activity: One hour
Relevant Contextual or Demographic Information: Girls involved in the Girls Inc. GIRLStart Program are from two areas‚ both of which demographically are very low-income‚ low-resource communities. They are largely English language learners‚ and they come to the program with low reading scores; in other words‚ lower than those of their classmates‚ who are all at extremely low-performing schools.
What is the academic content of this activity?
In the literacy extension hour (which is part of a larger 3-hour afterschool literacy program‚ where reading‚ homework‚ and special projects are also components)‚ children participate in an active‚ rather than passive‚ read aloud‚ where suggestions‚ predictions‚ and text to self‚ text‚ or world connections are made on a regular basis. Hands-on activities which relate to this book are then described and laid out for the children to do. Adults‚ two group leaders and volunteers‚ circulate during this activity time asking engaging questions and offering input when it's requested. An example of a literacy extension activity done recently is a read-aloud of the book 'Ira Sleeps Over' where girls got to participate in this richly illustrated and woven story about a boy and his first sleep over‚ and then rotated through different stations in which they created an illustrated sleep over list (what they would bring to a sleep over)‚ a note inviting someone to a sleep over‚ and another station where they created paper "sleeping bags" and paper doll cut outs of themselves and a friend. During this process‚ adults and girls discussed the questions and encouraged the great work that was being done.
How does this activity create strong relationships?
Literacy extension activities create an amazing way not only for children‚ their peers‚ and adults to bond as they do their hands-on activities‚ but also for adults to bring to the program the things they are passionate for the children to learn. For instance‚ a recent activity involved a book where a young girl and her father help to rescue a sea turtle. The leader who brought this activity to the girls is‚ herself‚ involved in saving the environment and was able to turn a simple story into fun activities where children created turtle puppets‚ and a "promise to the sea turtles" pledge‚ and they were all able to create small plays for each other that incorporated a life lesson. Also‚ as mentioned above‚ adult volunteers‚ as well as older students from nearby middle schools and high schools‚ are recruited and trained monthly to help facilitate at the program.
What opportunities are there for authentic decision making?
The participants in the GIRLStart program are involved in decision-making in many ways. Girls provide suggestions and input on what they would like to learn about and projects they would like to take on. Activities often center around deciding what they would like to do‚ what they imagine will happen‚ writing their own books and "publishing them‚" and making choices about the kinds of activities they would like to do. Girls are also involved in group decision-making around goal setting‚ completion celebrations‚ etc.
What student leadership opportunities are there?
The GIRLStart program focuses on literacy‚ but also on improving the self-esteem and the self-image of girls. Girls have the opportunity to take leadership roles in every part of the program‚ not just by being program assistants and leading activities‚ but by coaching and mentoring girls who are younger than they are or who are just entering the program. GIRLStart truly believes that girls not only need to be provided with leadership opportunities‚ but also should be mentored and shown leadership by women of all kinds.