Mariana faced plenty of challenges when she began attending elementary school in Chicago's South Lawndale/Little Village community. She found herself floundering academically, reading below grade level while trying to develop English skills in a classroom so different from her home environment where Spanish is the primary language spoken.
When her teacher referred her to the READS literacy intervention program at Erie House, things started to change. With one-on-one support after school 2 days a week, Mariana developed confidence as a reader—and she began to excel in school.
"Because of my hard work and the help I got from Erie House, now I'm on the principal's list," she says.
- Mariana, READS participant
Her mother, Maria de la Luz, agrees. "Mariana was in Spanish classes; now she's in bilingual classes," she explains. "And she's reading at a high level thanks to (READS coordinator) Ms. Rachel."
The READS program engages children in a variety of activities that build skills and foster a lifelong enjoyment of literature and learning. They also participate in computer lab time to develop digital literacy so crucial to sucess in school. The end result is that students like Mariana develop confidence and gain the skills they need to achieve long after they graduate out of the program.