Oregonian on SuperSensory Literacy Space at Rosa Parks

<em>Oregonian</em> on SuperSensory Literacy Space at Rosa Parks

An Oregonian reporter recently visited The Shadow Project’s SuperSensory Literacy Space at Rosa Parks Elementary, and came up with a nice article. Photos and a movie are also available, at:

http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2015/06/students_with_learning_disabil.html#incart_river

http://videos.oregonlive.com/oregonian/2015/06/rosa_parks_elementary_supersen.html

Or view the original newspaper clipping in full size here

June 2015 Newsletter

 

June 2015

Shadow Salutes its Graduates

It’s graduation season! We’d like you to meet Chandler, a Marysville School student in the Shadow Project for two years, who is graduating from eighth grade. Struggling with ADHD, Chandler never liked to read. But then he earned a book through the Shadow Project that taught him how to play the harmonica … and he changed his mind about the printed word.

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Oregon’s First Super Space Launched

Unveiling of The Shadow Project’s unique SuperSensory Literacy Space at Rosa Parks Elementary, the first of its kind in Oregon, continues to make ripples around the state, thanks to recent press coverage. Special education teachers are calling to receive Shadow services, parents of students in special education are touring Rosa Parks, and children in special education are appreciating the unique, compact, multi-sensory library tailored to their needs.

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Learning Ally Saves the Day

Chief Joseph/Ockley Green Speech-Language Pathologist Moira Finnegan, MS, CCC-SLP, remembers well the seventh grader struggling with dyslexia who would not read. Despite his parents’ attempts at finding the right book to interest him in reading, the boy had never picked up a book on his own. But when Finnegan learned his family was going on a week long road trip, she loaded the audio version of Hunger Games onto an app through The Shadow Project-provided Learning Ally, and voila! The boy was hooked on reading.

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Shadow Welcomes New Program Manager

Quynh Nguyen has joined The Shadow Project as its program manager, overseeing the organization’s partner schools, including service development, delivery, and evaluation. Quynh has 18 years of experience in program management, community engagement, and is a former special education teacher.

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Learning Ally Saves the Day

Learning Ally Saves the Day

Chief Joseph/Ockley Green Speech-Language Pathologist Moira Finnegan, MS, CCC-SLP, remembers well the seventh grader struggling with dyslexia who would not read. Despite his parents’ attempts at finding the right book to interest him in reading, the boy had never picked up a book on his own. But when Finnegan learned his family was going on a week long road trip, she loaded the audio version of Hunger Games onto an app through The Shadow Project-provided Learning Ally, and voila! The boy was hooked on reading.

“It was huge for him and his family,” said Finnegan. “He could have gone through life never accessing a book. The audio book was the key for him.”

Finnegan says audio books are terrific for children who are still working on their reading skills, but can easily comprehend the text if it is read to them. “Audio books are an important way to access text, especially for older students. Many children with dyslexia would not be able to access grade level material if they had to read it on their own,” she said.

“There is a misconception that audio books discourage kids from reading,” she said. “But I absolutely think that is not the case. Audio books encourage children to try reading books they would normally consider much too hard. By experiencing literary language with their ears, they gain exposure to more complex vocabulary and language structures.

“Learning Ally has been so motivating for our kids,” said Finnegan. “It makes such a difference to have a real human reading the story with the proper intonation, rhythm, and pronunciation of words, and so many kids need this support, especially if they have a learning challenge that makes the decoding of words difficult.”

Finnegan has been teaching at Ockley Green in north Portland for four years (Chief Joe merged last year with Ockley Green). “I love working with kids and giving them access to the wonderful world of books that allow them to escape for a while,” said Finnegan, who helped draft legislation this year with Decoding Dyslexia of Oregon requiring a dyslexia specialist at the state level.

“What excites me is taking kids who’ve gotten quite discouraged, and showing them that they Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 9.01.03 PMdon’t have to give up on themselves.”

 

Oregon’s First Super Space Launched

Oregon’s First Super Space Launched

Unveiling of The Shadow Project’s unique SuperSensory Literacy Space at Rosa Parks Elementary, the first of its kind in Oregon, continues to make ripples around the state, thanks to recent press coverage. Special education teachers are calling to receive Shadow services, parents of students in special education are touring Rosa Parks, and children in special education are appreciating the unique, compact, multi-sensory library tailored to their needs.

“Special education teachers have been telling us that they’re hungry for classroom libraries with materials that make reading more accessible and enjoyable for their students,” said Christy Scattarella, founder and executive director of The Shadow Project. “We have kids who do not read in the traditional way. They may “read” with their ears, need the freedom to move around, or crave tools that soothe and calm them so they can focus. They have tenacity and they have courage. We need to do right by these remarkable children.”

Research indicates that providing multisensory elements in special education classrooms increases student engagement and on-task behaviors. A recent study found that fidgeting improves school performance for children with ADHD.

Just ask Fortune, 11, who has a learning disability. During recent state testing, she used fidgets, a vibrating pillow, and earphones in the SuperSensory Literacy Space to relieve stress and improve concentration.

“The pillow massages my legs when it vibrates to help me focus,” said Fortune, who loves reading Junie B. Jones and Captain Underpants books. “The space is cool.”

Rosa Parks Special Education Teacher Kim Giarelli said she is proud of Fortune for successfully utilizing the strategies she has been given. “The learning difficulty is still there, but she now has the confidence to know what she needs to read with focus.” Giarelli said that Fortune’s recent test scores were high enough that she no longer requires special education services. “Fortune now has more confidence in herself and in knowing what she needs to achieve,” she said.

“The SuperSensory Literacy Spaces created by The Shadow Project make literacy more accessible for our students with learning challenges,” said Portland Public Schools (PPS) Superintendent Carole Smith. “I’m thankful The Shadow Project is part of our Read Together initiative.”

One of PPS’ top three priorities is ensuring that all students read well by the end of third grade. The PPS Read Together initiative has brought together six reading and family organizations (Shadow is one) to provide students at five pilot schools with intensive, wrap-around literacy services.

The Shadow Project Salutes its Graduates

It’s graduation season! We’d like you to meet Chandler, a Marysville School student in the Shadow Project for two years, who is graduating from eighth grade. Struggling with ADHD, Chandler never liked to read. But then he earned a book through the Shadow Project that taught him how to play the harmonica … and he changed his mind about the printed word.

“The book we received from the Shadow store came with a harmonica, and to learn how to play the harmonica, you had to read the book,” said Janice Holstine, Marysville special education teacher. “Chandler really wanted that harmonica, so he read the book. When I saw Chandler walking down the hall reading a book … I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

Chandler not only read the harmonica book, but taught himself to play a lullaby that his mother used to sing. “The harmonica book meant a lot to me because I actually got to learn an instrument that I’m now fairly good at playing,” he said.

“I like books with action and excitement and books about video games. I’ve gotten some cool books through the Shadow Project, as a reward for meeting my goals.”

Chandler, 14, will be a freshman at Gladstone High School in the fall, and we wish him well!