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

###

Join us for Pub Trivia

Join us for Pub Trivia

Who wrote the children’s book, Corduroy? In what year did the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) become law? Questions like these are on the menu at a free Pub Trivia event open to the public. Grab your team, and join us!

WHEN:      Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, 7 to 9 p.m. 

WHERE:   The Oregon Public House, 700 NE Dekum Street, Portland, 97211.

The 15-year-old Shadow Project, a leader in education equity, is hosting six rounds of Pub Trivia, with all rounds focused on education and literacy. Prizes will be awarded to the top players/teams.

A portion of proceeds from food and beverages will benefit Shadow, a Portland nonprofit that makes school more accessible and engaging for students with learning challenges like dyslexia, ADHD, and autism, so they can achieve their potential.

 

###

Volunteer Audiobook Mentors Needed

Volunteer Audiobook Mentors Needed

Do you want to make a difference for children with learning challenges like dyslexia, ADHD, and autism? The Shadow Project is seeking volunteer audiobook mentors in Portland and McMinnville to empower students with reading struggles to get hooked on literacy and reach their potential. Shadow Project audiobook mentors meet one-on-one with elementary school students once a week, coaching them to use an online audio-visual book library designed specifically for children with learning challenges. Mentors guide children in finding books they love, setting goals, and reading at school and home. You’d make a great mentor for a child with learning challenges if you are able to:

*Commit to two hours a week, during school hours, October to May, for at least three months;

*Interact compassionately with children who are diverse learners, encouraging them to set reading goals, and celebrate their progress;

*Complete a background check.

Many children with learning challenges read one- to three-years below grade level and struggle with the printed word. Audio-visual books give kids with learning challenges a new way to read. They can see and hear the book, which builds their confidence and engagement in reading. Research has found that hearing a book while seeing it can boost comprehension. Paired with a caring mentor to encourage and reward their efforts, once-struggling students become motivated and more joyful readers, and their reading scores improve.

“I had a difficult time learning to read when I was younger,” said Joey Webber, Portland Timbers mascot, who is a Shadow audiobook mentor. “Having the opportunity to share that challenge and help these kids realize their potential is a very special experience. Setting goals with kids is so motivating.”

The Shadow Project partners with teachers at 38 primarily low-income schools to close the achievement gap for diverse students with learning disabilities, whose challenges are often impacted by race-based inequities. Shadow empowers them to be confident, engaged learners who thrive in school and life. For more information, call Alejandra Gurrola, 971-373-3457, or go to shadow-project.org/volunteer.

Free Family Event on October 8

Free Family Event on October 8

Find out about unique classroom spaces that are teaching kids with learning challenges essential school and life skills, at a fun-filled family event hosted by The Shadow Project. We’ll also share audiovisual technology specifically designed for children with disabilities who struggle to read.

The free community event, Celebrating Courageous Kids, is on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., at Oregon Public House, 700 NE Dekum Street, Portland, 97211. This is an inclusive event, open to families with children of all ages.

The Shadow Project is a leader in providing tools and strategies to classrooms to boost student motivation, attendance, and reading scores. The free event also includes:

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Meet Timber Joey, Portland Timbers Mascot and Shadow audiobook mentor

1 to 2:30 p.m.  
Read to Molly, the Therapy Dog

3 to 5 p.m.   
Children’s Story Time, with the Author of The Boy Who Learned Upside Down

7 to 9 p.m.
Pub Trivia focused on education, with prizes for the top teams!

Each child who attends the Oct. 8 event will take home a Family Reading Kit, which includes a water bottle, handheld fidget for stress relief and focus, and a book.

Proceeds from food, beverage, and raffle ticket sales will benefit students in The Shadow Project.

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.

Thank you to our event sponsors and contributors:

Gold
Learning Ally

Silver
Jubitz Corporation

Bronze
Commerce Bank

Contributors
aMYLK
Bob’s Red Mill
Guardian Games
Hollywood Theater
McMenamins
Oaks Park
OMSI
Oregon Zoo
Por Qué No
Portland Children’s Museum
Portland Pastimes
Portland Spirit
Portland Winterhawks
Starbucks
Wiggle Room
Willamette Valley Vineyards

###

 

Audiobook Mentoring Life-Changing for Timbers Mascot

Audiobook Mentoring Life-Changing for Timbers Mascot

Portland Timbers mascot Joey Webber visits a lot of schools. But becoming a reading coach in The Shadow Project’s schools has proved life changing.

“This is one of the best things going on in my life right now,” says Timber Joey, who knows what it’s like to have a reading challenge. “Reading coaching has made such an impact on my life.”

Timber Joey volunteers with Shadow kids one- to two-times a week, meeting with students in special education to talk about books and set reading goals, download audiobooks, and practice reading aloud.

“We talk about what’s going to make it better to read at home, and the kind of environment where it’s easier to read,” says Timber Joey. “It’s rewarding to come in here and see where kids need a little bit of help, but also to see the progression of where they’ve come from.”

Setting goals with kids is motivating, says Joey. “With a goal, you always have something to think about, and motivate you to go beyond if you’re needing more time or practice to achieve your goal.

“These reading sessions have really opened my eyes,” he said. “It’s important for people to contribute to projects like these, so it creates a better society.”

Click here to find out why Timber Joey reads to his dogs!

###