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Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson develop unique strategies to increase reading literacy

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Posted at 6:18 AM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 19:09:04-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - There are six Boys and Girls Clubs in Tucson, and at one clubhouse leaders have come up with unique strategies to increase reading literacy among students.

The Steve Daru Clubhouse is on the westside of Tucson and it serves students between the ages of seven and 17-years-old.

Many of the students who go to the clubhouse after school attend schools in the surrounding area.

Nichole Antone is one of those those students. She told KGUN9 that it is because of leaders at the Boys and Girls Club that here love of reading has grown.

“I read every day," said Nichole.

Anayeli Melkumyan, the clubhouse director, told KGUN9 that although the club is meant to be a place for students to spend some time after school, program managers and staff want to make sure they're still learning and improving academically.

In order to do that, leaders have incorporated unique strategies to get students to read without even knowing it.

"If you give them a book, sometimes they are really excited about it depending on the book but sometimes, you know, they’re like I’d rather play a game and them reading the card is a way for them to read without realizing it," said Melkumyan.

One of those strategies requires taping a sheet of paper to the gym wall. One student runs to read the first sentence, runs back and recites that sentence to their partner.

The goal is to get students to read without realizing it, all while having fun.

Karin Malbrough, the vice president of operations with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson said leaders place a big emphasis on reading literacy because they want all students to succeed.

"Reading as an example is a huge priority focus for us as we know in that we know that as our club members are moving through elementary and middle school if their reading literacy isn’t where it’s meant to be they’re going to struggle and fall behind," she said.

Leaders have also incorporated other programs meant to help students with reading. Among those is a program where a dog comes into the clubhouse and allows students to read to her quietly. The clubhouse is also equipped with a reading nook for students.