RWD POV: Bascom Library - Third Year's A Charm!
My name is Mercedes and I am a Family Learning Center Coordinator with the San José Public Library (SJPL) at the Bascom Branch. This summer marks the third year that we have partnered with Read Write Discover (RWD) to bring their services to the Bascom community.
As in many areas, the summer slide is a very real concern for our community and is something that we at the library strive to combat. RWD has been a great partner organization for SJPL. All those associated with RWD are truly motivated to make a difference in the lives of the children they serve, as is evident in the results they get from students and in the expectations they hold for all those involved.
At the beginning of the program, students are assessed and then paired with teen tutors who dedicate time during their summer break to teach or reinforce literacy skills that the students will need in order to excel in their academic lives. In my personal experience, the teens do an amazing job at creating an environment in which their students feel comfortable and safe. This is evident to anyone who witnesses the program in action. Students are always so excited for each session to begin. They log on early in hopes that the program might, by chance, start early. The kids remember the names of their tutors and what breakout rooms they are in. They sit in the main room before the sessions begin and happily chat with one another in excitement.
Not only are students excited but the feedback that I’ve gotten from parents is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, I’ve never in my three years of working with the organization, once had a concern brought to my attention by a parent. Each year, the program grows in popularity. At the library we have parents inquire about the program as soon as it is made public that we plan on hosting it. The only fault I can possibly find with the program is that there is not enough room for each and every child in the community to participate, but my hope is that one day in the years to come that may change.
I would highly recommend Read Write Discover to anyone seeking an organization that will not only help with children’s literacy skills, but will also give children confidence in themselves and in their abilities to make strong connections with others. I truly believe that while literacy is the main goal of the program and something that it excels at, life skills are gained organically through the dedication and actions of all those involved.
One of my favorite books from my childhood is “Miss Nelson is Missing.” The book is about the students from Room 207 who tend to take advantage of their kindhearted teacher, Miss Nelson. When Miss Nelson disappears she is replaced with a substitute who is as different from Miss Nelson as can be. Be sure to read the book for yourself available at the library!