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February 13, 2015

In your afterschool and expanded learning programs, you try every day to fit in as much fun and learning as you can, balancing all the competing demands. Y4Y staff know how busy your days are. Luckily, literacy can be worked into a program in many ways, big and small. Let’s go through the key building blocks of literacy to demonstrate some ways.

Reading

Many programs have found success with book clubs. Beyond providing risk-free space to practice the mechanics of reading and strengthen comprehension skills, book clubs boost motivation, which is critical for developing readers. To get everyone on the same page, visit Y4Y’s Book Club hub for ideas that will help your students become detectives or space explorers, visit other countries, travel to the past or future, and meet people who are very different but very alike, too.

Writing

In the special space of afterschool, writing needs to be more than sitting down and working in silence. Get your students super-charged about writing by involving them in fun and thought-provoking Pre-Writing Activities from Y4Y. They’ll be engaged in a topic and brimming with ideas, ready to write! To add another level of motivation, bring in a local writer or offer books written by people from your city or state.

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening skills are gateways: they help students become better readers. One strategy that’s common in early childhood education works for all ages — it’s the Interactive Read-Aloud, which mixes a teacher reading to a group, students interacting with the teacher about the text, and students talking with one another to dig deeper into the content.

Language

It’s easy to incorporate language skills into any program activity or project. Try some of the strategies on Y4Y’s Vocabulary Development page to reinforce language learning while your students are accomplishing other goals. Several strategies, like those that foster word consciousness, take very little preparation time and can be fun and casual to add into transition times or snack time. Some of the more formal strategies, such as a Vocabulary Collage or the Frayer Chart, would pair perfectly with a new thematic unit or a project you are already doing in your program. 

Tip: Engaging families in literacy events is also a great way to build your literacy programming and make a positive impact on your community.  Consider hosting a fun family literacy event. Use this checklist to ensure it’s well planned!

For more ideas to incorporate the key building blocks of literacy into your program, check out the Learn More Library’s wealth of resources. 



September 8, 2014

Back to school is a very exciting time of year for everybody. It’s a chance to get back to basics while also getting a fresh start and a chance to meet new people and learn new things. In that spirit, we here at Y4Y are very excited to announce the release of brand new content on Y4Y, which was rolled out over Labor Day weekend just in time for back to school!

First up is the new Literacy content module. It includes a full Learn section (Introduction, Implementation Strategies, and Coaching My Staff), a Teach section (Trainings to Go and Training Starters), Tools, and a Glossary. In total there are over 60 new pages of content including 9 new videos and over 100 tools and resources.

Next is the whole-site content refresh! That’s right -- each of the other five modules has been enhanced and updated with new content, new and revised pages, new or updated tools, and new external web resources. The refresh incorporates new materials to keep the existing modules relevant and up to date, while reorganizing the information slightly for improved consistency across the entire portal.

All of the new and refreshed content was designed with busy afterschool professionals like you in mind, so you’ll find it just as accessible, just as useful, and just as time saving as you’ve come to expect from Y4Y.



September 8, 2014

The new Literacy module was designed with the needs of your program’s youth foremost in mind. It helps you explore how crucial literacy is to learning and suggests how you can incorporate literacy activities into your programs in ways you may not have considered before. 

For example, after you learn about the Five Components of Reading and about the Six Developmental Stages of Reading in the Introduction to Literacy, you can choose from a variety of tools to put these ideas into practice.

One such tool is the BDA Lesson Planner, which will assist you in the fifth component of reading, Comprehension. The lesson planner guides you through the steps necessary to help your students think about what they are about to read “before” they start, to read actively “during” the exercise, and to summarize and synthesize what they read “after” they finish.  BDA – Before, During, After.

In addition to the lesson planner you’ll also find a BDA Training Starter, and even a completed Sample BDA Lesson to help you create your own. Take a look at the new Literacy module today and see what ideas you can find to help support and enhance the literacy skills of the youth in your programs.



September 8, 2014

Please join us on Tuesday, September 9, at 1:00 p.m. (ET)/10:00 a.m. (PT) for a coffee break webinar focusing exclusively on the New Literacy Content on Y4Y. Your hosts will be Karen Tylek, Y4Y Project Specialist, and Jessica Chung, Y4Y Content Specialist.
    
We’ll learn about all the new Literacy resources available on Y4Y, discuss ideas for integrating Literacy activities into your program, and share strategies for working with staff, students, and families.

All webinars are free so register today !



August 21, 2014

One of the things we love most about the Y4Y portal is how it’s always growing and expanding to adapt to users’ needs. Every single month there are new blog articles to read, new webinar recordings to watch, and new Discussion Board posts that you can peruse and share with your colleagues. It’s a “virtually” (get it?) never-ending stream of information about 21st CCLC programs!

While it’s true that new materials are posted every month, what’s even better is that periodically we get to add major new sections of content that dramatically expand the scope of the Y4Y portal. Most recently it was the new Drug and Alcohol Prevention resources, and before that it was the new Civic Learning and Engagement materials in the Project-Based Learning module.

Now we’re very excited to announce that in fall 2014 we’ll be launching a brand new content module devoted entirely to Literacy. It will have the same look and feel of existing modules. There will be a complete Introduction to Literacy featuring dynamic videos and interactive features, Implementation Strategies to help you put the ideas into practice in your program, and helpful information about Coaching Your Staff in your particular Literacy efforts. Of course, there will also be Trainings to Go, Training Starters, and dozens of new Tools – all fully customizable to your program’s needs!

The new Literacy module will cover the Five Components of Reading, the Six Developmental Stages of Reading, and many other literacy-related topics like writing and comprehension that impact not only youth but also their families as they learn and grow in today’s competitive world and global economy.

Watch your in-box for more details and a special announcement regarding the release of the new Literacy Module on Y4Y!