Thursday, April 19, 2007

20% rise in reading scores for Breakthrough kids

It has been a good year so far for students in Breakthrough’s Nettie Bailey Student Achievement Program. “It is exciting to see then dig in and push themselves,” says Academic Coordinator, Seth El-Jamal. “Everyone is making progress in one way or the other.”

A large focus of the after-school program is to increase reading scores. In addition to valuable time spent with tutors, students use a learning software called Orchard Gold Star Targeted Educational Software. The cumulative effect makes a difference. Seth says, “By the second quarter, 43% of the students were reading at or above their grade level, a 20% jump from the first quarter.” Students will be tested again this spring.

Seth also discussed how Breakthrough assists students by helping them recognize their unique learning styles. “Many school systems use the left-brain, analytical model,” he explains. “But some students learn better through right-brain methods.”

“For instance, some students respond better to math by seeing the problems from a spatial perspective,” he says. “When they can touch and manipulate pieces of a puzzle, it can make learning easier.”

The learning style assessment has worked well for some struggling students at Breakthrough. “It’s not an issue of whether or not they are smart,” he says. “It’s more about them knowing their own best way to learn. They need to know that.”

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