Ready for Middle School Reading

Ready for Middle School Reading

Transitioning to middle school can be a scary step for kids with learning challenges who are worried about fitting in academically. But Shadow Project student Annjel is up to the challenge!

Annjel used to become exhausted when reading. “I would have to read the sentence over and over, just to understand what I was seeing,” she said. “I wanted to know what happened next in the story, but I had to keep figuring out the meaning first. It was tiring.”

Two years ago, The Shadow Project made an audio-visual library available at Annjel’s school. The large font size and text highlighting on the screen as the story moved along, plus the vocabulary repetition, helped Annjel improve. She skipped recess to read with her ears and eyes on the assistive technology, and often stayed up late to read at home, even after her mom, Sally, told her to turn out the light.

By spring of fifth grade, Annjel’s persistence paid off with her reading scores rocketing two grade levels! “I feel like I can read more now,” said Annjel, who loves Junie B. Jones and the Mermaid Sirens books. “Now I’m reading books that are not audiobooks, which feels great.”

Says Sally, “I’m really impressed by how far she’s come. Annjel used to get discouraged some times. But she is more confident now about her reading, and she’s gotten to where she needs to be for middle school.

“Everyone learns differently, and I would like for The Shadow Project to be available to other kids who need help.”

Shadow’s high-tech reading mentoring program is supported, in part, by the Oregon Cultural Trust


Spirit Mountain Community Fund to Advance Equity for Children with Learning Challenges

A $35,000 grant to The Shadow Project will help children with disabilities like dyslexia and autism thrive, and achieve their potential.

The Shadow Project, a 15-year-old nonprofit committed to making school more accessible and engaging for children with learning challenges has received a one-year, $35,000 grant from the Spirit Mountain Community Fund. Shadow Founder and Executive Director Christy Scattarella, M.A., received the grant in a September ceremony in Grand Ronde.

“The strength of our local partnerships is something we take pride in,” said Mychal Cherry, Spirit Mountain Community Fund executive director. “It’s an honor and a privilege to support an organization like The Shadow Project that makes it possible for children with learning disabilities to meet and exceed their full academic potential.”
The majority of the children in The Shadow Project are from low-income homes and communities of color. The Spirit Mountain grant gives them personalized learning experiences such as reading mentors who use a specialized audio-visual library to make books comes alive, sensory spaces where children can find calm and focus, and a goal-setting program that motivates discouraged learners.

“Because of Spirit Mountain’s generosity, our children have tools tailored to the way they learn, teachers equipped to support them, and a sense of belonging in school that sets them on a path of pride and accomplishment,” said Scattarella. “Many of the students we serve have been ready to give up—on school and on themselves—and their perseverance and determination inspire me daily.”
The Spirit Mountain Community Fund is the philanthropic arm of The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, distributing $78,610,930 in grants to non-profit organizations in 11 counties, government agencies in Polk and Yamhill counties, and the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, to improve the quality of life in Northwest Oregon.

Download the full release here. (PDF)

Free Community Event for Families, Educators & Friends

Free Community Event for Families, Educators & Friends

How can teachers and parents motivate their students with learning challenges to read? Join us at our hands-on free family event, as part of Dyslexia Awareness Month, and try out the latest tools that are empowering students to read and focus.

Step inside a cozy SuperSensory Space, and try out an audio-visual library that makes books come alive for struggling readers!

Celebrating Courageous Kids


Monday, Oct. 8, 2018
11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.


The Oregon Public House
700 NE Dekum Street, 97211

Event Schedule

11:30 a.m.
Meet Timber Joey, Portland Timbers mascot and Shadow volunteer

1 p.m.
Read to Molly, the Therapy Dog

3 p.m.
Story Time with the author of The Boy Who Learned Upside Down

5 p.m.
Mingle with Star Wars characters

7 p.m.
Pub Trivia with prizes to the top teams

All Day
Purchase raffle tickets to win fabulous prizes from our generous contributors!

The Shadow Project is a Portland nonprofit that partners with 38 local schools to make the classroom a place where children who learn differently can thrive.

Can’t make the event? You can support our students by purchasing raffle tickets online and be entered to win tickets, food, wine, movie passes, and more! Tickets are $5 for one; $10 for 3; and $20 for 10, and proceeds support kids at our 38 schools.

Event Sponsors & Contributors

Thank you to our generous sponsors and contributors:

Learning Ally

Jubitz Corporation

Commerce Bank

Bob’s Red Mill
Guardian Games
Hollywood Theater
Las Primas Peruvian Kitchen
Oaks Park
Oregon Zoo
Por Qué No
Portland Children’s Museum
Portland Winterhawks
Portland Pastimes
Wiggle Room
Willamette Valley Vineyards Reserve