Shadow in Oregonian Season of Sharing

Shadow in Oregonian Season of Sharing

The Shadow Project is honored to be one of 10 Portland education nonprofits selected for The Oregonian’s annual Season of Sharing. Read “Empowering Students with Special Needs” and then donate (your gift will be matched!) through the newspaper’s Facebook fundraiser.

The Oregonian highlights Shadow’s Reading Mentoring program in which students up to three years behind in reading have gained as much as two years in ability. The program equips students in special education with audiovisual reading technology, and a trained adult volunteer to help them set and achieve reading goals. The mentoring program is now in eight schools in Portland and McMinnville.

Says Woodmere Principal Katherine Polizos, “The audiovisual technology gives kids who are struggling to decode words at grade level access to text, and to use reading for learning in a way that they are not able to, at a higher level. It’s giant! A lot of kids ask to use the audiovisual technology because it is a cool thing, and cool has a lot of cache with kids.”

Polizos said that the access to assistive technology through The Shadow Project has created a “huge culture shift” at the school. For example, she recently overheard two second graders excitedly discussing Minecraft Ninja, a book they were both reading. One student read the print version; the other used the audio-visual version. In the past, those students would have not been able to connect over a book, she said.

Portland Timbers Mascot Joey Webber, who is a volunteer Reading Mentor with The Shadow Project, had a difficult time learning to read as a child. “Having the opportunity to share that challenge and help these kids realize their potential is a very special experience,” he said.

“The most impactful part of The Shadow Project mentoring program is for the kids to have someone consistent who will show up every week, long term, to help them set goals and motivate them to continuously practice their reading. As they learn they can depend upon their person, they really excel.”

 

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