Principal William Skelly and Assistant Principal Sylvia Martinez have partnered with Professor George Farkas, PhD student Melina Pinales, and UCI undergraduates in Professor Farkas’ course on Effective Reading Interventions, as well as UCI work study students, to improve the reading skills of first and second graders at Heninger Elementary School in the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD).
With generous support from Crevier Family Foundation and Lakeshore Learning Materials, the Reading One-to-One program is pairing university tutors with Heninger students who need focused support in reading.
The Reading One-to-One initiative grew from Professor Farkas' extensive background as a researcher, scholar, mentor, and program implementer. His accolades include recognition from the Clinton administration for his contribution to the America Reads program, pioneered by Farkas in Texas and subsequently scaled up for national distribution in the late 1990s. (Read more)
Professor Farkas began the program at Heninger in fall, 2016, placing UCI undergraduates trained in his Reading One-to-One curriculum with low-performing first graders. Statistical research (pre-post testing, fall and spring test scores for the Heninger tutored students and a matched control group selected from five other schools) showed that the tutored students who participated in at least 40 tutoring sessions during fall and spring gained an average of 10.4 percentile points greater than the control group (p<.083) and a significantly greater proportion of tutored students (50%) scored above the 38th percentile compared to the control group (20%) (p<.035).
During the 2017-18 academic year, Reading One-to-One is providing the neediest Heninger students with UCI undergraduate tutors, so that each Heninger student is tutored one-on-one, four times per week, for a total of 21 weeks. Tutors work with students on identifying and sounding out letters of the English alphabet, identifying beginning and ending sounds in spoken words and blending sounds together in written words so as to sound out the word, using a mini-white board and plastic letters to sound out and spell words, and most importantly, reading level-appropriate English books and answering questions about the story. The UCI undergraduates, under the guidance of PhD student Melina Pinales, maintain a portfolio of the Heninger student's work, chart the student's progress, and write journal entries about each day's experience.
In addition to the instructional assistance, many of the UCI students are first-generation college students, and serve as college-going role models for first generation students in Santa Ana. At the end of Spring, Ms. Pinales and Professor Farkas will be documenting student progress during the 2017-2018 academic year, with the goal of further expanding the program to include additional UCI and SAUSD students.