Making It Better
Improving literacy, leadership and life skills for underserved elementary students.
Core Literacy Programs
The Making It Better Reading Intervention program provides individualized, small group reading tutorials for at-risk students in grades K – 2, with the goal of creating proficient readers by the end of 3rd grade.
Our Reading Intervention program is comprised of twice weekly, 45-minute sessions (during the school day) with a low 4:1 student to teacher ratio. Students are leveled and grouped according to a comprehensive pre-assessment. The program is based upon the 5 components of reading as determined by the National Reading Panel:
- Phonemic Awareness
The primary goal is to close the gap between students’ reading grade levels and their actual grade levels. Secondarily, each tutor strives to build meaningful relationships with their students and become an adult the children can trust.Ninety percent of students score at least 90% on a Foundational Skills Assessment, which includes Letter Recognition, Concepts of Print, Phonological Awareness and Phonics.Ninety percent of students show an increase of at least 1 Reading Grade Level. Ninety percent of teachers report a positive change in students’ confidence in reading,and also acknowledged that our Reading Intervention Program was beneficial to their student.
What Sets Our Reading Intervention Program Apart?
Tailored to meet the needs of each student, our staff evaluates students’ progress on an ongoing basis. This evaluation is used to shape our lessons for individualized learning, as well as to strategically group students in order to accelerate their progress.
Additionally, in an effort to meet the needs of each campus, our staff works very closely with teachers, administrators and reading specialists to complement each school’s reading program.
Low student to tutor ratio
We always maintain a very low 4:1 student to tutor ratio. This low ratio provides the students with individualized intervention and also allows the tutors to develop a meaningful relationship with each child.
We work very hard to keep our costs reasonable for schools. The portion that a school pays towards the program depends upon the needs and funds available at each school campus, as well as the number of students to be served and the length of the program. Our typical program consists of 23 weeks of instruction and serves 36 students at a direct cost of approximately $700/student.
More than a “vendor”
We go beyond the classroom by supporting literacy development at home through our book bag program where students check out two new reading-level appropriate books each week. We also host three workshops each year where parents receive materials, support and additional skills to foster their child’s literacy development and expand learning at home.
Our Parent Partnership program is a comprehensive plan to tackle Houston’s literacy crisis from its core by engaging and educating parents to increase support for their child’s literacy development. Parents are encouraged and provided with Literacy Kits and additional skills to support their child’s learning from birth through high school, as well as to develop a literacy rich home environment.
Workshops are attended by parents of our Reading Intervention and Steps 2 Success program students. Parents connect with one another while participating in fun, free, hands-on activities that can also be used at home to expand learning. Each family chooses a children’s book to add to or begin their home library and also receives a Literacy Kit. Not only do parents learn a variety of ways these materials can be used, but they also learn how their child can get the most benefit from our weekly take home book bags.
Family Literacy Nights
Our Family Literacy Night is a fun, interactive outreach events that provide materials, education, and activities to encourage reading as a “way of life”. Small group sessions offer support and foster relationship building through a hands-on activities involving reading and writing skills. Adult literacy providers are available to give parents information on services offered (ESL classes, reading tutorials, etc.). Each child is able to choose two books to take home while parents leave equipped with Literacy Kits, as well as additional skills to support literacy development at home.
This program gets reading level-appropriate books into the hands of children who need them the most! Students participating in our Reading Intervention and Steps 2 Success programs exchange 2 colorful, engaging books each week. Book bags also contain a journal to encourage writing about the books read (by parents and children), as well as a reading buddy (small stuffed animal). The books included are multi-cultural and are chosen specifically for our students to foster the idea that reading is fun!
Ready, Set, Read!
This program addresses the Houston literacy crisis by promoting literacy development in our youngest children. Classes are held in apartment complexes or other community settings and are open to parents and/or caregivers and their children ages 1 – 4 years. Classes are filled with fun activities designed to build vocabulary and promote school readiness through the use of songs, movement, storytelling, reading, and art. The importance of reading to your child each day is fostered through our lending libraries and monthly book giveaways. Trained volunteers meet with parents/children weekly for 45 min/session, October thru April.
The Ready, Set, Read! program is a blessing. Before we came here, it was hard for me to sit her (Akilah) down and teach her because she wouldn’t do anything. But since we have been coming to this program once a week, she sits down and reads from morning until night. She loves it! This morning she woke me up and said, “Mommy, school!” I said, “Okay, let’s go and brush our teeth.” She said, “No, Mommy! Shoes! School!"-Volunteer-
She loves coming here and now she can read better and is learning how to spell! She comes to me and says “Mommy, c-a-t cat!” Thank you, thank you! It’s a blessing and I really appreciate it because I believe so much in education. This is the best gift I could ever give to my girls. Akilah loves to read now! She says “Mommy, let’s read!” She’ll bring the book, “Mommy let’s read! Mommy what’s this? A is for apple,” and on and on and on. She reads better than my friends’ kids who are in first and second grade! She is always reading and reading… she sleeps with her books! Akilah is doing excellent. Thank you so much! I really, really appreciate from my heart what you all are doing to help our children in this community.-Mother of two in the Ready, Set, Read! program-
We have been so impressed with the Making It Better educators’ professionalism punctuality, knowledge-base and positive energy. Every lesson is action-packed, full of dialogue, engaging and meaningful. Pure joy exudes from every struggling reader as they make strides in their literacy development. It’s quite the safe-zone for any child who needs special accommodations. We also appreciate the accessibility we have with the tutors to learn about our students’ progress. Making It Better is certainly supporting our campus by helping students achieve.-Bobbie Swaby, Principal, Piney Point Elementary-
I volunteered as an assistant for the Reading Intervention program at Walnut Bend. My experience was an eye-opener! What I enjoyed most was seeing how much some children don't know, how hard it is for them to learn, and why it's necessary to teach the same lesson in several ways. It sounds strange to say I "enjoyed" that, but I haven't been around many kids who struggle, so for me, these observations emphasize why this program is so important.-Linda McSwain, Volunteer-
I am a senior at The Kinkaid School and a Community Service Council Member. Some of my classmates and I have been volunteering with Making It Better for more than 3 years in their Steps 2 Success and Family Literacy Night programs. We always have a lot of fun interacting with the kids and providing educational activities for them. We leave each event with adorable stories about the kids, as well as a sense of gratitude for the lives we lead. I am so grateful for the opportunities that Making It Better has given me, which have broadened my interests in community service and have allowed me the opportunity to spend time doing worth-while volunteering.-Lily Fitzpatrick, Volunteer-