Bethlehem Center, a non-profit, faith-based community agency, is hosting a free training session to help schools, churches and other non-profit organizations improve the reading skills of children and young adults.
Bethlehem Center uses a technology-based program called Lexia Reading to dramatically improve literacy among local elementary school-aged children.
“Research in our region and throughout the nation repeatedly shows that literacy is a critical factor in reducing the rate of school dropouts, crime and gang activity,” said Lurone “Coach” Jennings, executive director and life coach of Bethlehem Center. “Students unable to read above the third-grade level are at a tremendous disadvantage at school and throughout life. We’re here to change that. The church must be involved in reducing illiteracy in order to help create a more moral and civil citizen for our community.”
Bethlehem Center and Front Porch Alliance, along with Maclellan Foundation, is hosting a one-day training program for educators, pastors and others who want to help kids read better. The training will be held Dec. 21 at Orchard Knob Elementary School, 400 N. Orchard Knob Ave., Chattanooga.
The center uses Lexia’s Assessment Without Testing technology, which provides personalized learning in five areas of reading instruction. Lessons are provided through multi-sensory scripts designed for teachers to use with students struggling with specific reading skills.
The program has made a difference. A sampling of 49 first-to-third graders and 86 fourth-to-eighth graders using Lexia at the center for six weeks this past summer showed that the first group improved their reading skills from three percent to 30 percent of their grade level. The fourth- and fifth-graders saw an increase from 20 percent to 77 percent of their grade level while sixth-to-eighth grade students increased reading proficiency from 26 percent to 100 percent.
This literacy initiative is a local collaboration among organizations and partners, including Elders of the City, and churches of various denominations committed to supporting literacy with after-school and summer Lexia Literacy Labs. Older students and adults also benefit from the program as a means to help them achieve reading competency and productivity.
Training is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon, with a pastor’s orientation from noon to 1 p.m. Interested churches, schools and organizations should call Yolanda Wade at 423 756-8545.