When Sophie came up with the idea for Read Better Be Better, I was on board immediately. A fun after-school program that helps tiny humans master reading comprehension, become better learners, boost self-esteem, and develop leadership skills? Genius!
But what I did not expect was the excellent ripple effect our program would have on our participants’ families. Learn about the far-reaching impact of after-school programs — and see what students, site leaders, and principals are saying about how RBBB is changing lives.
A Motto That Makes a Difference
“It encouraged me to help my little siblings at home.” Sophia, 8th-grade student, Whittier Elementary
Our motto, “Be Excellent. Be Kind.” is exemplified in everything we do at Read Better Be Better. And students in our program are directly affected by these values — but it’s started trickling down to their siblings too.
Take Christopher and Nic for example. Christopher was a Reader in our pilot program at Whittier Elementary School and Nic was encouraged to join RBBB as a Leader (along with Christopher) when they were old enough. Since then, Nic has volunteered for four semesters as a Reading Leader, putting in a staggering 100+ volunteer hours. Pretty impressive, right?
By replicating our curriculum at home or even just being more empathetic with siblings, our program participants are helping us reach more children than ever. (And helping to spread our motto far and wide!)
Here is some of my favorite feedback from our program participants:
- “Something I do differently at home now is spend time to help my little sister out.” — Aracely, 8th-grade student, Whittier School
- “On vacations, I go to Mexico and read to my stepmom.” – Katherine De La Rosa, 3rd-grade, Encanto Elementary
- “The program changed me because now I read better and it helps me at home because I read to my baby brother now.” —Alyssa, 8th-grade volunteer, Desert Star
Sharing Is Caring
Site leader, Andrea Diaz, can attest to the impact of our program. She led two program sites this semester and witnessed a capacitor-warming moment firsthand. She could barely contain her excitement, as evident below:
“RBBB goes so much further than the classroom or schools! I work in public housing and was at both [public housing] sites yesterday. I took in my RBBB journal for notes from my meetings and observations of our housing program. Kids noticed! I had several from each site come up to me to talk about RBBB.”
“They had either been in the program or had siblings who were Bigs or Littles,” she continued. “They couldn’t say enough great things about how fun the program is and what their sibling loved or they loved about it. If they hadn’t been in RBBB, they said how they hoped they would get picked at school to be a part of it. It was amazing!”
Andrea went on to gush about how our participants’ siblings who aren’t directly involved with RBBB (yet!) are also reading more as a result.
“Everyone needs to know this program changes lives. Not just of the participants but of the families too — even the siblings are more likely to read because their brother or sister was in the program. These kiddos are having more exposure to books at home and being read with or to because of knowing someone who has been through the program! This program truly changes homes and communities and I saw the proof yesterday!”
This is one of the most beautiful ripple effects I could have ever imagined!
The Amazing Impact of After-School Programs
“Our 7th-Grade Reading Leaders are keeping out of trouble and making better choices.” Lillian Linn, Principal, Avondale Middle School
After-school programs help students reach higher and achieve more, both in the classroom and out. We’ve seen this firsthand as our participants take what they’ve learned at RBBB and help their siblings improve their literacy skills at home and/or encourage them to become Bigs themselves.
As you can see, the impact after-school programs are having on kids is astoundingly positive, whether they’re at school or at home.
In fact, a report titled, The Impact of After-School Programs that Promote Personal and Social Skills, concluded that “Youth who participate in after-school programs improve significantly in three major areas: feelings and attitudes, indicators of behavioral adjustment, and school performance.”
That’s more than enough to light my interface up with joy — but it gets better. “More specifically, after-school programs succeeded in improving youths’ feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem, school bonding (positive feelings and attitudes toward school), positive social behaviors, school grades, and achievement test scores,” the report states.
But do after-school programs help prevent children from engaging in negative or dangerous activities? The report’s findings point to a resounding “yes!”
“[After-school programs] also reduced problem behaviors (e.g., aggression, noncompliance, and conduct problems) and drug use.”
With positive effects that range from more confidence to stronger communities, after-school programs, like RBBB, are not only changing lives — they’re changing the world!
Dr. Dave signing off!