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Lip Sync Battle 2017

On March 9, 2017, UVU’s Service and Learning Center put on an event entitled “Lip Sync for Literacy.” The purpose of the event was to create awareness about Everyday Learners and illiteracy in our community. All proceeds of the event went to the Everyday Learners program.

 

Organizations on campus competed against each other in lip sync battles as a fun way to make this event possible. Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and Justin Bieber were only a few of the singers and groups these organizations lip synced songs to. The event also featured “special appearances” from Jimmy Fallon, Chris Pratt, and Emma Stone.

 

Josh Marshall, Coordinator for the UVU Service Council, was in charge of putting on the event. He feels like it was a great success and helped people become more aware of how they can help in the community.

 

“We recognize how important the children in our community are and having an event to raise money for them so they have the opportunity to have books in their homes was such a great experience,” said Marshall.

 

Through the event, hundreds of dollars were able to be donated to our Everyday Learners program. We are grateful for organizations who see the importance of literacy and find creative ways to help the cause.

 

 

 
 
 

Grateful for Reading

As Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I have been thinking a lot about things I am grateful for. Working with EveryDay Learners, my gratitude has increased for literacy. Reading and writing are very important skills. I remember when I was in elementary school and was learning how to read. Some of my favorite books were The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where the Wild Things Are, and The Giving Tree. As my skills increased, my love for reading grew. My mother was a great advocate for reading and helped my siblings and I get excited about reading. I remember reading Harry Potter books all throughout elementary and middle school and the magic that book series brought to my life. 

I am grateful for reading because it has helped expand my own imagination. I love being able to create a vision in my head through stories and books I read. I love reading to gain more knowledge in subjects I have interest in or knowledge on how to better myself.

I am grateful for reading because it gives me a great opportunity to bond with my niece and nephew. I have fond memories reading stories together and laughing with my parents. It is so fun to be on the other side of the fence and seeing the laughter and joy in children’s faces as we read together.

As you reflect on things you are grateful for this holiday season, do not forget to be grateful for reading. Grab a book and read to someone around you. Reading together will create memories that will last a lifetime. 

Backpack Donation Benefits Community

There are many different ways to volunteer with EveryDay Learners. Some individuals participate in tutoring or after school programs in schools throughout Utah county. Others do book drives and book cleaning/labeling. Recently the Highland Utah South Stake of the LDS Church did an incredible service project. Women from this stake came together on September 24th and assembled 400 backpacks filled with school supplies for children in Utah county. The backpacks this stake provided were of high quality.

These backpacks were donated to an organization called Kids Cause. This non-profit based in Springville works to ensure that all students are successful by meeting their physical, emotional, and social needs. They currently serve 70 schools in the Alpine School district, 40 schools in the Nebo School District and 26 schools in the Provo School District. Kids Cause will distribute these backpacks to schools throughout Utah County. Students in need will be receipients of the backpacks.

There are many other services this non-profit provides. Kids Cause provides clothing, school supplies, eyeglasses, dental care, hearing aids, and other needs for students who have needs and are identified by their teachers.

There are many opportunities to serve throughout the community. We always are appreciative to community members who participate in service oriented activities that help benefit the community around them.

What ways can you serve your community? Visit http://volunteer.unitedwayuc.org/ to find ideas of what YOU can do.

 

 

Importance of Summer Reading Programs

Language learning is not the only resource Nomen Global has within its doors this summer. For the first time, Nomen Global Language Center and the Humanitarian English Language Program (HELP) are joining together to provide an 8-week Summer Reading Program to local children.

Kay Smith, founder of the HELP organization, believes the summer reading program offers beneficial instruction for the children.

“From my educational background (retired English Associate Professor at Utah Valley University), I thought it would be nice if our program was a summer literacy program, not just reading, reading, reading for 60 minutes because I don’t think a 6-year old can do that,” Smith explained.

“In our program our teachers have a suggested lesson plan that is from the state core. The lesson plans try to align with the theme for the day. We often have activities that correlate with the lessons. Then, the last hour we do one-on-one reading, reading with a partner, or 4:1 reading with a teacher.”

There has been much research to show how structured summer reading programs can benefit students. Research states that those who participate in summer reading opportunities often have higher graduation rates, better college preparation, and confidence and motivation.

“I have already seen the immense excitement and confidence our summer reading program has brought to the children,” said Smith. “It is exciting to see the great growth in the children for the time we have had them in our program so far.”

While HELP and Nomen Global Language Center are sponsoring the Summer Reading Program, Smith notes there is much outside help that allows the program to run.

“After months of planning, we partnered with Nomen Global to begin the program for local children in grades 1-3,” Smith explained. “Nomen Global offered us the space and use of their copiers, for which we are very grateful. The Provo School District allowed us to reach out to schools on the west side of the community and have been great to work with. We also have received donations from various organizations that have really helped us get going.”

At the end of the program, the students will have a library of their own books, improved skills to take back to school, and fond memories of reading success and fun.

Through the help of Nomen Global, HELP, and the community, Smith feels overwhelmed by the support the summer reading program has received.

“I love seeing a community get together for the benefit of our little readers. I love seeing the volunteers get excited. Most importantly, I love hearing kids start to say that they love reading. There is nothing more rewarding than that,” said Smith. 

To learn more about summer reading programs in our area, contact EveryDay Learners or your local library.

 

Second Annual Read-Along Event

On June 21, 2016, Utah County came together to participate in the second annual Utah County Read-Along. This event was made possible through the participation of all public libraries in Utah County, 10 local organizations that gave in-kind donations for our prize packages, and a generous sponsorship from Kimberly-Clark’s Depend brand. United Way and Depend are coming together to promote healthy, active, and independent living throughout an individual’s life, with a focus on volunteering. 

As a county, we were able to read 181 HOURS!! Through this team effort, 181 books were donated to House of Hope through the sponsorship of Pioneer Book. We thank you for joining together to read to help benefit mothers and children at House of Hope. 

                                  

Don't slide into summer learning loss this year

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EveryDay Learners wrote this article two weeks ago in the Daily Herald. Brad Wilcox and Tim Morrison share great ways to keep your children reading this summer. 

Most of the time, the words ‘summer’ and ‘slide’ conjure up images of fun vacation activities. But when you’re talking about literacy, the term ‘summer slide’ evokes a much more serious picture: young students who lose much of the knowledge they gained during the school year because they don’t participate in educational activities during the break.

But don’t worry: the summer slide isn’t an inevitable part of vacation. There are many things parents, friends, or mentors can do to prevent the summer slide.

Have Books Available

One of the best things you can do to combat summer learning loss is to make sure there are books available in your home. Choose a variety of books for your children, either by investing in building a home library or by visiting your local library frequently.

According to Brad Wilcox, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Brigham Young University, the more children practice reading, the better they will get. Children’s ability to read does not only affect them scholastically, but also for future life.

“It’s not just about preparing kids to earn a living, it is about helping them get a life,” says Wilcox. “If kids are just spinning wheels with electronic games, then they are not engaged in learning. We want them engaged in ideas and experiences.”

Show Interest

Making sure there are books around for your children to read is just the first step to encouraging literacy during the summer. It is also important for us to show interest in what our kids are reading. By asking them questions, it shows that we value reading and are interested in their progress.

“Showing interest is a key component to children’s success in reading,” says Wilcox. “Engage in conversation about books your children are reading, whether you have read the book or not.”

Tim Morrison, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Brigham Young University, agrees.

“It doesn’t mean that your children read the book and you then test them, but instead engaging in a discussion with your children about what they are reading and letting them explain what they understand,” says Morrison.

Reading Aloud

One great way to show your interest in reading is to read aloud to your children. According to a Scholastic Report, 23% of parents say their child stopped being read books aloud at home before age 9. Yet 83% of children say being read aloud to is something they loved or liked a lot.

“Many parents are passing on reading aloud to their children,” says Wilcox. “Reading aloud used to be an expectation of parenthood. The answer to increasing our children’s literacy is not in television or electronics. The answer is to sit down and read a book.”

Reading aloud allows parents to spend quality time with their children while helping them increase their literacy. There are other benefits that come specifically from reading aloud with your children.

“Kids will get more vocabulary from having heard a book read aloud than from normal conversation or instruction,” says Morrison. “You are flooding children with language when you read aloud with them.”

Motivators

Reading aloud to our children is only one way to make reading more exciting and fun. There are many other ways to bring reading to life and help motivate our children.

Both Morrison and Wilcox suggested to allow children to read what interests them, even if it is a comic book or other type of graphic novel. Reading builds language and vocabulary, regardless of the type of book they read.

If you are the type of parent that likes to give rewards, Wilcox has advice for the reward system.

“Do not give rewards for the number of books or pages a child reads, instead measure the amount of time read,” says Wilcox. “If you give prizes for completion, make the prize connect to literacy such as a book, journal, or colored pencils.”

While literacy is important, it is especially important during the summer because children have less educational structure in their day-to-day lives. Utilizing these four suggestions can help prevent children from sliding head first down the “summer slide.”

As parents, mentors, and friends, we should strive to help children improve their literacy this summer.

“Literacy gives you experiences that you cannot have any other way,” says Morrison. “Helping people become better readers is something we can focus on for a lifetime.”

 

Technology bridges distance between volunteers and students

For the past two years, employees from Jive Communications have been pioneering a unique way of tutoring--without even leaving their desk at the office.

Over 20 employees, from the Orem-based company, tutor 5th and 6th grade students 15 miles away at an elementary school in Eagle Mountain. Each week, these volunteers login online to tutor a student in reading.

Tutors use the Student Tutoring Achievement for Reading (STAR) model and curriculum developed by the Utah State Office of Education to help students in their literacy skills. Each 30-minute tutoring session consists of reading passages, comprehension, writing, vocabulary, and a fluency exercises. The tutoring program is just like any other face-to-face tutoring session but it is held all online through secure Google Hangouts.

Jive teamed up with a school that had a need for extra volunteers, but was unable to find enough one on one tutors, due to its remote location. Online tutoring was a unique solution to the school’s needs and has had great success with the students.

Jive tutors make impact on students

Mr. Wood, a teacher of tutored students, explained how there is a need for this individualized approach to a child’s education. 

“Parents are often so busy…they are working extra jobs, and sometimes these little guys do not have the extra one on one help at home to read,” says Wood.

During last school year, the students tutored online at the school doubled their words per minute and both teachers and tutors saw the increased confidence of these students in their reading.

The school is not the only one that has reaped benefits. Tutors have also enjoyed getting to know their students and feeling involved in the community.

“I also love seeing our employees getting involved and take time doing something that is meaningful. It’s all part of our corporation mission—giving back and helping other people,” says Paul Thatcher, Director of HR at Jive Communications.

In addition to volunteers from the Orem office, family members of Jive employees have also started tutoring. There are also Jive employees who live out of state and tutor from California, Oregon, and even Canada! Technology is truly connecting people from around Utah County and across the continent to help our local children succeed.

To learn more about online tutoring at Jive Communications, check out this video. This wonderful volunteer opportunity is expanding to other schools and companies across Utah County. To find out how your corporate group can particpate in online tutoring or find information about other ways to support EveryDay Learners, contact us here or by phone at 801-374-2588. 

Christmas Dilemma Solution

In a previous blog post, I discussed the dilemma I was having during the holidays. I was tied between purchasing my daughter toys or books for Christmas. I couldn’t get both, so I decided on books. Why books? Well, books are a “forever gift.” According to Parents Magazine, newborns who are read to have a larger vocabulary and more advanced mathematical skills. A study also showed that children who were read and talked to often scored higher on standardized tests at the age of 3 versus children whose parents weren’t as verbal.

I value my daughter’s education and cognitive skills, as I am sure other parents are with their children as well. Books are a great way of bonding between parents and their children and it also prepares children to read on their own when they are ready. After reading to my daughter for a couple days in a row I also noticed a physical response from her. She associated books with sleep time. A routine of a bath and story time has become a tradition before bedtime. I found that she would use her fingers to follow along with the words on the page. Of course, they weren’t exact but she knew that she could follow along with mommy’s fingers.

 

Another great benefit of reading to children at a young age is that it introduces emotion through the sounds of your voice. There are other ways to teach children about feelings, like music and watching TV, but reading is the greatest and most effective way because it teaches them at a personal level the value of communication.

I am thrilled with the improvement I have seen in my child because of the decision I made to buy her books and read daily with her. I feel as though she would be ready to take on the world if she continued at the pace she is developing at. I hope this encourages everyone to read with their children and find ways to make books available to them as well!

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