On Wednesday, February 28, Suzanne Westmoreland, an Elder at St. Andrew’s, spent her morning in Ms. Snyder’s kindergarten classroom at Whittier Elementary in Westside Costa Mesa. Suzanne read aloud to students and taught a lesson to parents on how to improve their student’s reading skills at home. The children were very responsive and genuinely excited to read along with Suzanne and their parents.
The course is part of a program called ‘Partners in Print,’ an 8-week reading comprehension training program for parents at Whittier Elementary. This is just one of the many aspects of our Whittier ministry, which serves the largely Hispanic community of Westside Costa Mesa. Students who live in Spanish-speaking environments struggle to develop their English-language skills, putting them at a disadvantage in their academic studies and professional pursuits. By investing our time and energy, we believe Whittier students will be given the best chance to reach their full potential. Our specific goal is to help every third grader read at grade level. To accomplish this goal, we are investing in the following areas: literacy, staff encouragement, parental engagement, and facility improvement.
Alex Lopez, one of the many parents in attendance, has been attending the program since day 1. He says that the program is very helpful and that he has seen an increase of vocabulary used by his daughter, Alexa. At home, he practices with her three or more days a week for a half an hour or more. Alex responded when asked about St. Andrew’s role in the program that he “really hasn’t experienced anything like this before.” And also pointed out that the program plays a big role in his ability to teach his children while at home. “It keeps things fun and interesting, while also being educational.”
Help is always needed! As a volunteer, you can read to students, donate a teacher “back-to-school” kit, and more. If you’re interested in joining the Whittier team, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949.574.2243. Click Here for more info.