Afterschool Matters Spring 2022

Strong Start, Strong Readers

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.


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Supporting Afterschool Literacy

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.


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Playful Learning Landscapes

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).


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Museums and Community-Based Organizations Partnering to Support Family Literacy

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)


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Coaching for Early Literacy Support

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).


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Coaching to Improve OST Literacy Programming

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).

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OST Program Strategies to Promote Literacy Skill-Building

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

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Partnering for Literacy Impact

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.

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The Afterschool Matters Initiative is managed by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, a program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Georgia Hall, PhD, is Managing Editor of the Afterschool Matters Journal

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

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