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Philadelphia program trains parents as reading coaches

Ebony Wilkie, left, helps her son Jakai Rhoades read a book about spaceships while his brother Karim Pressley looks on. Wilkie has received training on how children learn to read. (Photo: Harvey Finkle)

Ebony Wilkie, left, helps her son Jakai Rhoades read a book about spaceships while his brother Karim Pressley looks on. Wilkie has received training on how children learn to read. (Photo: Harvey Finkle)

On a March afternoon, 8-year-old Jakai Rhoades and his mother, Ebony Wilkie, began tackling his homework.

“What does this word look like?” Wilkie asked her son, a 3rd grader at nearby Blaine Elementary School. “It’s a compound word—two words together. Do you see?”

“Spaceship,” he answered, correctly.

“Rumble … rumble … ROOAAARRRR,” read Jakai. “The rocket goes up into …” He stumbled on the next word. But his mom was at the ready, pointing upwards again and again, offering Jakai a really big hint.

He tried again, reading, “The rocket goes up into … space!” Yes! Jakai was pleased, and so was Wilkie.

In this household in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, learning to read is a joint venture. … Enlisting parents as reading coaches is the linchpin innovation of a remedial reading initiative called the Springboard Collaborative. Springboard, created by Alejandro Gac-Artigas, has run summer reading programs in charter schools the past three years and expanded to include four District schools last summer.

Read the full story on The Notebook.

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