Northwest Tri-County IU5: Boosting Literacy Skills Among Children of Migrants

 The summer migrant education program of Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit (IU5) utilizes creative ideas -- and Erie’s maritime legacy -- to engage students in grade-level educational enrichment. New in 2013, the addition of a carefully structured literacy component is showing proven results in reading achievement.

 Located on the Lake Erie waterfront, the program uses nautical themes and hands-on engagement. Students think they’re having fun – third- through eighth-graders sailing and canoeing, younger students exploring water safety and learning to build model boats – but all activities target student needs and are aligned with age-appropriate academics.

Funded through federal and state grants, the program serves about 150 children of migrants who work in the region’s agricultural industries.

The new literacy component provided supplemental reading and writing activities. The curriculum included diagnostic testing, materials, and resources to bolster reading ability and boost student confidence with their reading and writing skills. Teachers used an array of technologies, including iPads and GPs, to further engage students in literacy rich activities.

As a result, reading scores for students rose across the board. In the younger grades, student scores rose by up to 12 percent. Students in upper grades scores saw their scores rise by more than 6 percent.

The culminating event of the summer included a display of the students’ talents. Families enjoyed skits, cultural dances, and students’ creations. The students were proud to show off their creativity to their peers, parents, and teachers, and the program fostered a greater interest and enthusiasm for reading among participating students.

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