How students perform in two key areas, reading and math, may affect how they see the world and how they make decisions in that world. Standardized testing in New Jersey has revealed that African-Americans and other minority “at-risk” youth…are not scoring competitively in language skills. Sixty-eight percent of New Jersey high school students met or exceeded literacy expectations.
Reading proficiently by the end of third grade determines whether or not a child will graduate from high school, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. These achievement gaps limit students’ higher education and career options.
New Jersey Orators (NJO)’s programming serves as a resource to close the gap between achievement and expectations. The overall goal of the Close Reading Literacy Workshops is to help youth develop and demonstrate critical thinking skills.
Close Reading Literacy Skills Workshops were designed to train youth to understand the general content of a text even when they don’t understand every word or concept. Coaches train students to identify techniques that writers use to get their ideas and feelings across and to explain how they work. Students develop the ability to judge whether techniques the writer used succeeded or failed in communicating that objective.
Funding from our partners like the Fred J. Brotherton Foundation and NJ Office of Faith-Based Initiatives made the development and delivery of three Regional Close Reading Literacy Workshops possible for at least 60 students and their parents.
Along with our outcomes-based methodology, we include ongoing continuous improvement training and support for our coaches.