By Georgia Hall
Afterschool Matters Spring 2022
An Interview with the William Penn Foundation
Georgia Hall, managing editor of Afterschool Matters and director of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, interviewed two members of the William Penn Foundation’s Great Learning grant program: Elliot Weinbaum, program director, and Amanda Charles, senior program associate. The William Penn Foundation generously funded publication of this issue of Afterschool Matters.
Professional Development, Funding, and More
By Lena O. Townsend & Anne Lawrence
Think about something you love to do. Do you love to swim? Play piano or chess? Now think of something that you’re indifferent to or can’t do. That might also be swimming or playing piano or chess. Would you want to teach someone to swim or to play piano or chess if you had no interest in that activity or if you had repeatedly had negative experiences while trying to learn? No, you wouldn’t.
Promoting Literacy Through Youth Engagement and Culturally Relevant Design
By Rachael Todaro, Brenna Hassinger-Das, Jennifer M. Zosh, Sarah R. Lytle, Roberta M. Golinkoff, & Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
High-quality language interactions not only support children’s language development but also promote better long-term academic outcomes (Hirsh-Pasek, Adamson et al., 2015; Huttenlocher et al., 2010; Pace et al., 2019; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). Interactions in the form of frequent back-and-forth conversations between caregiver and child predict language growth in children (Adamson et al., 2014; Hirsh-Pasek, Adamson et al., 2015), regardless of whether families are from highly resourced or underresourced environments (Masek et al., 2020).
By Karen Knutson & Kevin Crowley
Students who have low literacy skills in fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than students who read at grade level; the risk may be higher for lower-income children (Hernandez, 2011). Some studies suggest that, compared to more affluent children, those from lower socioeconomic strata are exposed to fewer words and fewer books in their formative years, have fewer books at home, and are read to less often by caregivers (Golinkoff et al., 2018; Hoff, 2013)
Training OST Staff to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners
By Lori Severino, Sinead Meehan, & Lauren Fegely
Many out-of-school time (OST) sites are incorporating literacy time in their programming to capitalize on the benefits associated with literacy instruction (Pelatti & Piasta, 2017). Afterschool is a perfect opportunity to foster a love of reading in children. Expanded learning in afterschool programs can make a difference in both short-term and long-term academic outcomes (Vandell, 2012).
Philadelphia Practitioner Perspectives
By Maggie Gilbert, Julie Dennehy, Diane Gruber, & Georgia Hall
Research overwhelmingly reveals that the early elementary years are critical for developing foundational literacy skills, yet grade-level literacy proficiency r emains o ut o f r each f or many children in the United States. By the end of third grade, most children are expected to transition from learning how to decode to using reading skills to understand content (Chall et al., 1990; Chall & Jacobs, 2003).
By Kathryn A. Wheeler, Georgia Hall, & Neil Naftzger
Research indicates that struggling readers are more likely than proficient readers to have longterm negative outcomes. Hernandez (2011) found that children who scored low on literacy tests in third grade were four times less likely to finish high school by age 19 than higher-scoring peers
By Susan Matloff-Nieves & Rebecca Wallace-Segall
All young people have stories to tell. Yet when children and teens declare that they hate writing or are too embarrassed to admit they like it, elevating their voices becomes challenging. It is urgent that educators, policy makers, youth development workers and leaders, and philanthropists work together to find a way.