Clubs’ literacy program now year round project

Relying on a good push or two and coordination with school reading assignments, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada’s literacy program works year round.

January Fierro, who runs the program, said the goal during the school year is to build on school assignments and yet stretch children in the program who show interest in heading to the next level.

“We do try to push even at their grade level,” she said. Some young readers can show eagerness to tackle the task.

“Lots of kids like to be challenged,” she said. But first on Monday-Thursday afternoons during the school year the focus is on making sure “they get their SSA reading done” before moving on. That stands for success in all school assignments. There are “high frequency words” on which the students have to practice in such reading, she said, so at least 20 minutes goes into the SSA drill. Then there are 15 more minutes for additional reading.

“When they do the extra 15 minutes,” Fierro said, “it’s in a different book.” That normally is at grade level as well, though the challenge aspect is always feasible for eager readers.

Finally, Fierro’s program focuses in the final segment on kids from ages five to nine, featuring story time for them. “It’s just like they do in school,” said Fierro, noting she asks the children questions stemming from a story, guides them to enhance their comprehension and seeks predictions from the pupils about story outcomes to keep them involved. She said such story time zeroes in on positive tales.

“We have to be knowledgeable about where kids are,” said Fierro, who’s 35 and has headed the program for two years. She said it’s enjoyable work and has helped her decide to take coursework at the University of Nevada, Reno, with thoughts of becoming a school teacher. She said she’s in her junior year at the UNR College of Education.

The Carson City-based club at 1870 Russell Way currently has 65 or 70 students in the program ranging in ages from five to 18, so the key of knowing where such students are in reading capability spans from early elementary to late in high school.

In the summer, the club’s program partners with the Carson City Library in a bid to keep summer learning going, Fierro said. She said the summer time program extends to five days weekly, includes occasional prizes and keeps the reading drive going across the period when kids aren’t in school room classes.

“We want to make sure that in the summer time they don’t lose what they’re learning,” she said.


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