Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Building Reading Skills One Move at a Time

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Building Reading Skills One Move at a Time

Article excerpt

Playing chess fosters reading skills, research indicates. So some fourth through sixth graders in Central California move pawns across the board to help move eyes across a page at a center named SMILE: Support Makes Involvement in Learning Enjoyable.

Activities like that one, which builds memory, concentration, and self-esteem, earned the SMILE Center, part of Project LEAP (Leadership Education to Address Poverty), an initiative involving California State University-Fresno's chapter, a Literacy Grant for the second straight year.

"Our goal at the SMILE Center is twofold: to help meet academic and social needs for at-risk children; and, just as important, to provide students at Fresno State with a positive, meaningful service-learning experience," said founding member and program coordinator Don Romsa.

The after-school program for children from low-income families began in 1999 as a neighborhood effort. The response from parents and teachers was so positive that the SMILE Center was invited to Vinland Elementary School a few blocks away from Fresno State. Today, the SMILE Center serves approximately 30 elementary school students there annually, with 100-150 college students volunteering as tutors. …

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