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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Literacy Resources
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Curriculum Details for
LitART LEARN

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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
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Practitioner Expert Background

This practitioner has been the supervisor of a city-wide afterschool program for the past 8 years, and has used LitART in this program for the past five years.  She uses it about four days a week for about an hour per afternoon.  Students are 1st-5th graders, broken down within the program by age group.  They are mostly from Latino backgrounds, 50 – 90% are on free and reduced lunch, and many are English language learners.

Logistics

Training
  • Training was tailored to each program’s particular needs.
  • Initial training, LitART Institute, is 2-3 days long, covers both content and delivery, and is geared toward people who have little to no experience in LitART.
  • Also has follow-up trainings based on themes and the needs of staff.
  • Has had an excellent relationship with Global Learning (the company that produces the curriculum). Global Learning is interested in hearing practitioners’ feedback and incorporates it into product re-vamps.
Set-up/preparation
  • Take an hour to two hours before each theme starts to plan for the next month.
  • After this, prep time takes at most 10-15 minutes a day.
  • Uses LitART with a 1:20 instructor to student ratio. Only challenge with this can be classroom management.
  • Time management can be a struggle for new staff.

Student Engagement

  • It is not a typical “sit here and read to you” program; staff are trained in many different reading strategies.
  • Activities are game-based, students are learning but are always engaged and having fun.
  • Curriculum gives students motivation to listen to what is being read: for example, they’ll be asked to draw the story or act it out.
  • Students tend to like acting out the stories the most, as well as the games they play after stories are read.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Is not overly structured, more experienced staff can add their own activities and creativity to the program.
  • Suggestions for behavior and classroom management help instructors address individual student needs.
General skills taught
  • Beyond reading comprehension and fluency skills, students have a chance to work on artistic and creative abilities.
  • Develops class presentation and public speaking skills.
  • Students often start extremely hesitant to read out loud, after several months with LitART their confidence is such that they are enthusiastic to read out loud.
  • Safe learning environment, students feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Instructors are given many different strategies for teaching reading. Covers all the learning styles in some way.
  • Many hands-on activities. For example, will read a story and often act it out. 
  • Content is age-appropriate and geared toward the grade level.
  • Includes content from many different cultures, for example, Holiday theme includes Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, etc.
  • For their students, who are primarily Latino, content is representative of who they are and their families.  It also exposes them to other cultures.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Curriculum is easy to follow and clearly laid out.
  • Training component is helpful; staff are able to build skills and become increasingly better at delivering LitART.
  • Literacy content standards are built in.
  • Presented in a game-like environment, so students do not usually realize that they are learning so many key skills.
Challenges
  • This practitioner did not find any challenges with LitART.


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