When classrooms started phasing out homework, Boys & Girls Club staff had to get creative about “Power Hour.”
“Power Hour is our homework help program we run every day after school, and we often recruit volunteer tutors, or the older kids help the younger kids” said Area Director Eric Battle.
The timing varies at each Club, but typically “Power Hour” begins after kids have time to settle in and run around for 30 minutes after school. Although it doesn’t always last the full hour, members are required to use this time for academics.
“If a member says he or she doesn’t have homework, then typically we find him or her a book to read,” said Battle. “But when we realized that teachers were phasing out homework and many kids didn’t have something to work on, we knew we needed to get creative.”
Youth Development Professional Deborah Gregory at the York Club also works during the day as a Para-educator in the York County Public School system.
“I saw a lot of kids struggling with reading during the day, and not all of our Club members have family at home that can or want to take the time to read with them, so I figured we would put our efforts there,” said Gregory.
They started with second graders and called the program, “Rocking in our Reading Shoes.” Participants pick out a book, read the book either by themselves or with a helper, and then complete a reading “pennant.” The pennant worksheet includes the title, author, description, their personal rating, and a reason (via drawings) for the rating.
Teachers have seen significant grade increases, including some by more than a letter.
And most importantly, the kids are enjoying the program. They even decorated one of the doors in the Club in honor of “Rocking in our Reading Shoes.”(displayed below)
“I like reading because it’s fun, but also because I get to learn new things,” said Jaliyah, one of the second graders in the program.
To engage other grade levels, Ms. Gregory began pairing up third grade students with first grade students who are having trouble reading.
“I enjoy helping whenever Ms. Gregory asks me,” explained Jordan, a third grade reading tutor. “I get to read with my friends and help some of the other Club members.”
The effort has been so successful that teachers requested Gregory begin working with Club members on spelling. Now, Club members are assigned spelling lists each week depending on their grade and spelling level, and practice Monday through Wednesday.
“Members take a pre-test at the Club on Thursdays so they are ready for their weekly spelling tests on Fridays,” said Gregory.
Rocking in my Reading Shoes has been a successful program in changing the mindsets of young individuals towards valuing education and enjoying reading. Boys & Girls Clubs thanks all of the people that volunteer their time to make this program possible.
Boys & Girls Clubs prioritize academic success as one of the three main priority areas, in addition to healthy lifestyles and character & citizenship. This reading program fills a gap in the community and ensures Club members have every opportunity to succeed.
Boys & Girls Clubs