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Executive Director Note – August 2019

“Promise me you’ll always remember:  You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Well the data is in on our 2018 – 2019 school year and we are excited for the results. 94% of our students improved 1 reading level or more and on average 4.45 reading levels. Now many might say, “Well how do you know that students not in your program wouldn’t have done just as well?” This is a valid question, especially for our funders, who want to assure that they are investing their highly sought-after monies to their best advantage. We here at SAYL are sensitive to this fact and strive to provide value added results. In 2016, prior to bringing our program to one of our NISD schools, we were granted permission by the district and the school principal to conduct a control group study. The results were indisputable and demonstrated that those students who were provided a Reading Buddy and the program curriculum increased their reading level as measured by the Fountas and Pinnell Reading Assessment 4.368 reading levels as compared to the control group’s 3.527 reading levels. As quoted in the study, “It is commendable that students in the SAYL program improved approximately one reading level more than their peers in the control group and entered 3rdgrade as stronger readers. The value of the time reading buddies spend reading one-on-one with their student not only has a significant impact on reading growth, but also on their child’s self-esteem and confidence. The value of this mentoring relationship is something which cannot be measured by a statistical test but cannot go unnoticed.”  

The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) states that, “There are currently 18 million children in the United States who want and need a mentor, but only three million have one.” (MENTOR Fact Sheet, 2012). SAYL is uniquely poised to help bridge this gap within Bexar County while simultaneously impacting a child’s academic success. SAYL Reading Buddies are positioned to impact the life trajectory of their students. It is through both reading intervention and building a relationship with a caring adult mentor that the SAYL Reading Buddy Program promotes positive outcomes for the children of San Antonio.

Our Reading Buddies know they make a difference and our teachers know that our program makes a difference. Teachers reported on an end of the year survey about our program. 59% saw increases in accuracy; 62% saw increases in comprehension; 74% saw increases in fluency; 85% saw an increase in confidence and; 65% saw an increase in motivation.

So, there you have it! Want to make a REAL difference? Come join us, be a Reading Buddy.

Deborah Valdez, Executive Director

Mary Flannigan

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