The SPECIAL YOU Reading Club, an Intergenerational Literacy Enhancement Program, brings together senior citizens and children to build a unique intergenerational relationship through mentoring and tutoring to help each of them to embrace their “Special You.”
In today’s busy, mobile society, many children miss out on having the opportunity to enjoy close, enriching relationships with their grandparents or older individuals.
The approach of this program is focused one-on-one interactions; the adult not instructing but rather, participating with the child, and in doing so, demonstrating the personal joy for reading and the delightful discovery of self through words and pictures. Research studies show that early literacy proficiency is crucial in determining learning success in later years.
The Special You Reading Club is designed to address the challenges associated with 3rd grade transition from learning to read through the senses to objectively reading for information. This literacy enhancement program model positively impacts student perceptions of themselves and their reading experience.
Piloted successfully in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Laguna Beach, California with the Laguna Beach Senior Citizen’s Group and second graders in the Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club, this program will be replicated again this fall. The volunteer mentors are provided training. The children gain self confidence and self knowledge by participating in a successful reading, writing and drawing experience using a focused mentoring /tutoring process.
During this 10-week comprehensive literacy enhancement program, the mentors and students meet weekly, focusing on a trilingual book, “You Are a Very Special You,” written specifically for this program.
Upon completion, the students will continue to read the "Special You" book, add pictures and writings in their book. Their books, when finished, will be showcased at the library.
This program is a wonderful, enriching experience for both the seniors and children. Studies have shown that early literacy has proven to be crucial in later year learning success for students.