A Literacy/Mentoring Initiative Targeting First Through Third Grade Students

The YMCA READS! Program, seeks to close the gap in students’ reading performance and the State of Florida’s reading performance expectations. The program meets the educational and developmental needs of students by providing structured and supervised services. The primary focus is on improving students’ reading skills. Additional services are provided to develop the whole child, including meeting each child’s need for relationship building and greater self-esteem. Volunteer mentors deliver the program services under the supervision of the YMCA READS! staff.

Location: Plantation Elementary School

For more information contact: Padmini Samaroo, YMCA READS! Coordinator, at psamaroo@ymcasouthflorida.org or 954-707-3766.

SIPPS Program

The goal of SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) is to teach children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words, sentences and stories in a systematic sequential way that makes sense to them. Each lesson builds on to the next one, and children are regularly assessed to see if they have mastered one level before moving onto the next one.


(Approximately Kindergarten – 1st grade) At this level, children move from the non-reader level to the first developmental stage of reading, i.e. becoming aware that reading and writing are based on the alphabet. They learn about sounds, their sequence within words, consonants, short vowels, and high-frequency sight words. They practice frequency on little books that use the sounds and sight words they have learned. Learn more



(Approximately late 1st grade – 2nd grade) At this level, students move from the first to the second stages of developmental reading, i.e. the spelling-pattern phase. They learn more complex sounds like long vowels and blends, and more sight words. They practice fluency on the leveled books from the fluency library. Learn more


(Approximately late 2nd grade- 3rd grade) At this level, students move from the second to the third stage of developmental reading, i.e. the polysyllabic/morphemic phase. They learn how to decode words with more than one syllable. They learn syllabication, prefixes, suffixes, root words, and more complex phonics patterns. They continue to practice fluency on leveled books. Learn more


KidzLit is an enrichment literacy program that helps children to acquire an appreciation for good literature by being read to or reading to a tutor. The characters of the stories are like themselves: they deal with important “growing up” issues. The main goal is to have fun, appreciate literature, listen, speak and think in a safe environment, and respect different cultures and different perspectives.


This program has several steps:

  1. Story introduction- activities to get students excited about a book before reading it. For example, looking at the title and the pictures, and making predictions about what might happen in the story.
  2. Reading aloud- making a story more interesting to the children who listen to it by using intonation, voice, pictures, stopping at strategic places, etc…
  3. Facilitated talk­- discussions about the story with deep questions like "Why do you think the character did this? Would you have done the same?” Checking predictions about the story.
  4. “Cool words”- for vocabulary building. Sharing interesting words in the story.
  5. Connections- activities that help children make connections between the story and their own experiences. Ex. an art project like drawing your favorite part of the story, or if the story was about something scary, drawing or writing about something scary.

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