Literacy

Purpose

Measuring the impact of the Pajama Program on positive change in our student readers’ growth is the important focus of our Literacy Program.  With the help of notable professional educators on our Literacy Advisory Board, we continually plan and support instruction, and assess children’s knowledge of literacy, both content and skills. We align our work to goals of the Common Core State Standards. We seek ways to create and assess home and school connections that support growth of a literate person in the 21st century.


About Pajama Program

Pajama Program provides new books and new pajamas to children in need, many who waiting and hoping to be adopted.  Many of the children we serve are living in shelters and group homes and are often shuffled from one temporary home to another.  Some of them are living with their families below the poverty level, in desperate need of food, clothing and shelter. Most have been removed from school for long periods of time and do not have access to books to continue their reading practice. Their reading skills are far lower than their peers. These youngsters have been abused or abandoned, and in many cases, have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a mother or father tuck them in at bedtime in clean night clothing with a story read to them or their own book to read. Through the Pajama Program, we are contributing to a warmer, more loving bedtime in a supportive reading environment for these special children. Since 2001 we have provided more than 2 Million new pajamas and new books to children in need nationwide.


Reading Programs

Pre-K:

“Reading Round-Up”

Hundreds of under-served children of Pre-K ages spend time at our our Reading Centers to read stories with our staff and volunteers. Many of these children are in transition between living arrangements. Children visit in groups of 5-30. We read to the children individually and in groups.  The reading sessions are 45 minutes each, followed by snacks, and then distribution of new pajamas and a new book wrapped individually, tagged with each child’s name, and presented one by one in a very special presentation to encourage and applaud their participation in the reading session.

Elementary School Age:

“Reading Aloud”

Author / artist storytelling visits for readers offer us the chance to assess children’s understanding of text and their motivation to read. It is important to keep in mind that a child’s ability to understand through reading independently lags behind their listening level. We will be reading aloud books ahead of children’s own reading ability to build vocabulary and knowledge orally. We will assess children’s comprehension of fiction and non-fiction texts in connection to our programing of these author events.

“Book in a Bag Program” (Take-home books)

A program to provide reading comprehension support. Assessments will focus on using evidence from the text to support thinking.

 “Back Pack Program”

for Book Handling, Pre- K-1st Grade  “Concepts About Print” A program based on the literacy “rules of the road” for early readers (Clay, 2000, Pg.24) will focus on book handling skills, print, punctuation, and letter and word recognition.

Middle School age:

“Power in the Middle”

The Pajama Program Middle School Initiative (Power in the Middle/ PIM Program) serves our middle school population through a variety of reading and experiential activities. Participants will read and discuss non-fiction and personal improvement books and take field trips aligned to the reading.

PIM – Power in the Middle. PIM wis a 2-week Program with girls from the group home Graham Wyndham. In addition to reading, we give teens a safe space to share their feelings, dreams and fears.

You can read the PIM blog with emotional posts from the girls and all of us here:
PIM Blog

Teen & Tweens:

The ultimate goal for teens is to enhance literacy with the use of technology.  One of the best tools to develop literate students in the digital age is blogging and for each of our teen Programs below we offer the participants educational lessons in blogging from our Literacy Advisory Board mentors.

“Poetry Plus”

Poetry Plus Program encourages young girls, ages 12-16, who have been removed from a family/home environment to express their feelings through reading and writing poetry.  The girls in our programs love to read poetry and we work with them to understand the poet’s intentions and then transfer their own feelings into poems of their own. Poetry Plus not only offers girls reading practice with books they enjoy, but the exercises and interactions help them understand their feelings and accept themselves. Sessions end with a gift to each child of a pair of new pajamas and a new book.

 “Money Matters for Teens”

Thank you State Farm for sponsoring our Money Matters program.

Thank you State Farm for sponsoring our Money Matters program.

Money Matters for Teens provides underserved teen and pre-teen boys and girls an introductory program on finance that can change these children’s lives. The Program gives the teens a very basic understanding of general finance and introduces them to the language, banking, flow of money, timely economic issues, and tax system that will all too soon become part of their daily lives. Sessions end with a gift to each child of a pair of new pajamas and a new book.

Share & Care Events:

These are special events where we invite career role models to speak to and engage underserved children ages 10-17 about potential career paths. Our guests have included policewomen, detectives, judges, attorneys, poets, writers and publishers. Sessions end with a gift to each child of a pair of new pajamas and a new book.


Assessment

“It takes one book to hook a child to become a lifelong reader. Once children experience that feeling of discovering themselves in a book, they want to repeat that assurance again and again.”

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English

 Pajama Program Assessment & Measurement Plans

 GOAL:

Our Literacy Program’s goal is focused on lifelong learning and upon making a positive impact on the growth of our student readers.

DEVELOPMENT:

Developing ways to measure and demonstrate our success is a necessary part of our process.  With the help of notable professional educators, we continually plan and support instruction, as we assess children’s knowledge of literacy, both content and skills. We align our work to goals of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). We seek ways to create and assess home and school connections that support the growth of a literate person in the 21st century.

INTRODUCTORY & ONGOING ASSESSMENT PLANS:

  1. Assessing ENGAGEMENT of Readers
    Educational research identifies engagement as the foundation of learning success. Pajama Program effectively measured success using
    A respected research tool
    Observations and evaluations of our program
    Ratings by directors, volunteers, and parents
  2. Results of these ratings overwhelmingly supported the success of  Pajama Program in engaging students in the reading process. Positive growth was evidenced by:
    Positive behavior during reading time
    Motivated readers who want to own books
  3. An additional student engagement tool – an open-ended response sheet – showed high levels of reader engagement within the program and proved the children’s excitement to continue in the positive experiences offered by Pajama Program.
  4. Assessing COMPREHENSION and CONCEPTS of PRINT
  5. In our new assessment settings, we look to the CCSS to focus our instruction through two programs

 

1.“Book in a Bag Program” (Take-home books)

A program to provide reading comprehension support. Assessments will focus on using evidence from the text to support thinking.

2.“Back Pack Program” for Book Handling, Pre- K-1st Grade  “Concepts About Print”

A program based on the literacy “rules of the road” for early readers (Clay, 2000, Pg.24) will focus on book handling skills, print, punctuation, and letter and word recognition.

3. COMPREHENSION Assessment through Reading Aloud for all Grade Levels

Author / artist storytelling visits for readers offer us the chance to assess children’s understanding of text and their motivation to read. It is important to keep in mind that a child’s ability to understand through reading independently lags behind their listening level. We will be reading aloud books ahead of children’s own reading ability to build vocabulary and knowledge orally. We will assess children’s comprehension of fiction and non-fiction texts in connection to our programing of these author events.

4. MIDDLE SCHOOL Reading Assessment

The Pajama Program Middle School Initiative (Power in the Middle/ PIM Program) serves our middle school population through a variety of reading and experiential activities.

  •  We specifically identify CCSS standards to assure that we support the ongoing literacy growth of our middle school readers and align our work with assessments to national standards.
  • Research suggests a correlation between social/emotional factors and academic success. The assessments for our programs include components to determine the affective growth of our readers along with cognitive measures.

5. TEEN Reading Assessment

The ultimate goal for teens is to enhance literacy with the use of technology.  The best tool to develop literate students in the digital age is blogging.  No other tool allows students to read and write in a way that allows them to interpret and create a wide array of media messages.  Blogs allow students to develop 21st Century Literacies as defined by NCTE (2008).

  • We will measure reader’s proficiency with technology.
  • Assessments will monitor how readers will gather, comprehend and use information from texts, books, articles, and web-based resources to create their own authentic writings.

6. Assessment for Parents and Caregivers Involvement

Pajama Program is committed to making a difference in literacy growth through nurturing home and school reading connections using “Back Pack Programs” and “Book in a Bag” models that support the home and school literacy bond. Through supportive professional development and outreach to parents, we foster a home and school connection that brings success.

  We assess our efforts through observational and anecdotal measures that help us continue our work with families and schools.


Pajama Program Resources


written and compiled by Jill Brenda Lipschultz (M.A., August 2011),
for Pajama Program, as part of the Early Childhood Education,
Master’s Degree Program at Loyola Marymount University,
Los Angeles, April, 2011.


Additional Resources

Why Bedtime Reading is Important