Boys & Girls Club Youth Gain in Literacy

20 Jun

For 115 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee (BGCMT) has prevailed as a youth-development leader by meeting youth where they need them most. At this time, one of the most significant challenges for Middle Tennessee youth is literacy. Only one in three third-grade students are reading on grade level.

The link between grade level reading by third-grade and longer-term educational outcomes are alarming. Youth who reach the fourth-grade without learning to read proficiently are more likely to underperform in high-school, far more likely to drop out, and more likely to be low-income earners.

Dedicated to ensuring youth get the tools they need to learn to read so they can successfully make the exciting transition to reading to learn, BGCMT implemented the Let’s Go Learn (LGL) Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA) – which adapts to student learning levels as they respond to each question, providing more difficult or easier items as needed to complete the diagnosis – and the LGL ELA Edge instruction provided by SkyLearn.

BGCMT piloted LGL in fall 2017. During the months of October to November, Club youth took the DORA. Examining results in three sub-categories (decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension), youth scoring below-, at-, or above-grade level were placed into one of eight possible categories. Youth scoring ‘low’ in all or two out of three categories (four of the eight categories) began EDGE instruction. As of end of May 2018, Club youth are showing amazing advances with ¾ to 1 full year of grade-level gains in reading comprehension. Of all youth participants, one-hundred percent have gained a half-year or more in multiple reading functions: high frequency words, phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, spelling, and reading comprehension.

“Boys & Girls Clubs are committed to helping youth reach their full potential and realize their great future,” said Dan Jernigan, president and CEO of BGCMT. “Our partners, supporters, and staff understand youth cannot achieve a great future without proficient literacy. We are thrilled with the results we’re achieving and determined to stay the course until all youth in Middle Tennessee are reading on grade-level.”

Jesse Overton, SkyLearn’s Chairman and CEO commented: “SkyLearn is grateful to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee in a joint commitment to help all youth achieve proficiency in literacy. Boys & Girls Clubs has taken a tremendous step forward for their youth in making literacy a priority and an element of their culture right alongside hope and opportunity.”

Club members and their parents make bookmarks at our Family Literacy Night at Cleveland Park Clubhouse.