John & Linda Bermingham Reading All-Stars Program
The John & Linda Bermingham Reading All-Stars Program was created in 2004 to address specific literacy needs of the homeless children we serve. Research compiled by the U.S. Department of Education shows that homeless children are at a significant educational disadvantage from their permanently-housed peers. Frequent absences and relocations to new districts puts homeless children at a higher risk for educational failure. For those children experiencing homelessness, 75% read below grade level. New Ground’s Reading All-Stars Program addresses this issue directly with a hands-on approach to increasing literacy skills.
This Program utilizes the latest scientific research on reading curricula and available real-time reading technology to overcome the educational deficiencies exhibited by our homeless children. We provide students with the reading skills necessary for current and future academic success. Using the Reading Plus online program individuals and small groups work with professional tutors and reading specialists. Every child receives a unique academic experience tailored specifically to their strengths and weaknesses. The Reading Plus online program picks up where phonics and oral reading instruction leave off, providing rapid and sustainable comprehension and silent reading fluency gains.
When first starting the John & Linda Bermingham Reading All-Stars Program and at the beginning of every subsequent school year, each student completes a placement appraisal to determine their independent reading level, vocabulary study level, silent reading rate, and comprehension competence. This assessment gives New Ground’s Reading Specialist current literacy levels, thus allowing for the creation of the individualized approach for each child. The online program assists the children with developing essential vocabulary and analytical reading comprehension skills while also improving their visual, perceptual and cognitive skills essential for fluent silent reading at appropriate grade level rates. The work done through the online program is reinforced and enhanced by the individual and small group tutoring sessions.
When the John & Linda Bermingham Reading All-Stars Program was first started in 2004, it was an onsite program serving those children living close enough to New Ground to attend after school two evenings a week. In 2006, the Reading All-Stars Program was expanded to include an in-home component to serve those families living too far away to travel easily. Computers are provided for these homes and a reading tutor is sent in each week for individual instruction. Parents ensure that the children go online for the program and complete their exercises a few times each week. The Reading Program also provides internet service for these homes so the children are guaranteed access to the necessary online activities. In the summer of 2010, the Reading All-Stars Program was again expanded to serve homeless children in two local family shelters. Many of these children remain homeless, living in the shelter for six or more months at a time. New Ground is providing access to the online Reading Plus program as well as small group instruction with a reading tutor two evenings a week in each shelter.
The results speak for themselves. During the last school year, over 80% of program participants increased their academic performance by at least one letter grade. We have seen children who start our Reading All-Stars Program go from reading two grade levels behind their peers, to catch up and then surpass their classmates.
If you are interested in supporting John & Linda Bermingham Reading All-Stars Program please contact us for more information.