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October 2015 Vol. 23 No. 2 Focus on Steps to Reading Success

A daunting journey, but profoundly rewarding

Photo: Harvey Finkle

Jo-Ann Rogan with her son Ryan, now in 6th grade, who was able to catch up on his reading level by three years once his learning difficulties were diagnosed and addressed.


Bill Hangley Jr.

Parents of struggling readers come from all walks of life, but they all have one thing in common.

That moment when they realized that something wasn’t quite right.

“He just wasn’t getting it – and I couldn’t figure out why,” said Erica Fields, a mental health caseworker from West Philadelphia.

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Medical professionals help ensure students are on track


Paul Jablow

Here’s how it’s supposed to work.

Responsibility for a newborn child’s medical care is assigned to a pediatrician soon after birth.

Any conditions, such as vision problems, that could threaten the child’s learning are quickly spotted and explained to the parents or guardians. Checkups screen not only for physical ailments, but also for issues with language development and learning. The child sees a pediatrician at least once a year for a regular examination.

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Improved instruction is at the heart of literacy push


Connie Langland

The kindergartners are sitting cross-legged on a carpet doing their best to draw the letter F, the letter of the day at KIPP Philadelphia Elementary Academy (KPEA), a charter school in Strawberry Mansion. Each day, the children practice saying and writing a different letter.

“Okay, friends, hold your fa-fa-fabulous Fs up to me,” says their teacher, Lauren Holifield. “Oh, my goodness, fa-fa-fa-fantastic. … Now make your best lowercase f. Have fu-fu-fun with it.”

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For quality pre-K, look for more than the ABCs


Dan Hardy

Take a tour of Children’s Village, a highly regarded child-care center in Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood, and some of the elements that make it a high-quality program are immediately evident.

In Room 303, a group of 3- and 4-year-olds is absorbed in a variety of activities, playing with toys, listening to recorded music and stories, or engaged in drawing, making and building things.

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