Bellevue, Idaho—For young children, summertime brings the promise of longer days, playtime with friends, and an opportunity to enjoy simply being a kid. For parents, it can be a time where creativity is applied to navigate childcare, craft a summer camp plan, and secure academic enrichment for their children. This need is all the more urgent for the one in five families who have a child who struggles with a learning disability.
On June 20th, 2022, Lee Pesky Learning Center (LPLC)—an educational non-profit based in Boise with satellite offices in Hailey on the Community Campus—launched their Pathways to Literacy program for 30 students in the Wood River Valley. With a focus on children whose primary language is Spanish, this comprehensive, five-week program runs in concert with Blaine County School District, YMCA, I Have a Dream Foundation, and the College of Idaho to provide soon-to-be first and second graders an opportunity to overcome learning obstacles.
This year’s Pathways to Literacy (PTL) program is led by Co-Director Carolan McAvoy and Project Coordinator Jahziel Hawley-Maldonado along with four reading tutors. Students meet with their tutors at Bellevue Elementary School—a site where they are already participating in summer enrichment—and spend 30 minutes four days each week engaging in 1:1 reading intervention.
PTL was initially launched in June of 2020 in response to COVID as a solution to narrow the educational opportunity gap. This summer marks the third year PTL programming has been offered in the Wood River Valley. Additionally, this summer offers more robust staffing due, in large part, to grant funding provided by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Spur Foundation, and the Wood River Women’s Foundation.
According to PTL Project Co-Director Carolan McAvoy, “It is rewarding to see the daily progress and feelings of success in these 30 young readers.”
As far as what’s next, Lee Pesky Learning Center—in partnership with its students and families—looks forward to the progress that will be made by each student over the course of this summer. Students who need additional support will also be able to receive 1:1 reading intervention throughout the upcoming school year.
In the words of LPLC’s Executive Director Dr. Lindy Crawford, “Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Education highlight the critical need to provide early reading intervention to Hispanic students. In Idaho, 74% of Caucasian students are meeting or exceeding a basic level of reading proficiency expected at grade four but only 50% of our Hispanic population is meeting that standard. We must do better. This program is designed to provide young learners who are reading below grade level a pathway to literacy.”
Pictured Above: A tutor work with a student to provide 1:1 academic intervention as part of Lee Pesky Learning Center’s Pathways to Literacy program.