March 01, 2019

Reading Horizons Review: Michelle Meeks

Tags: Direct Instruction, Student Stories

Teachers always talk about how wonderful it is to "see the light come on" when a student "gets it." Teaching reading is all about seeing the light come on. Students in literacy programs, especially adult-literacy programs, have spent the majority of (their lives) feeling like something was wrong because they were not "getting it.”

Using Reading Horizons gives students the tools they need and they realize that there is not anything wrong with them. Being a part of a person’s learning experience is very rewarding, and being a part of a person’s literacy improvement is likened to giving them lasting freedom.

The students at Project Read have a wide variety of backgrounds. Most students have struggled with reading their entire lives. All of our students are native-English speakers, and some have recently graduated from high school. We also have older students who are, for the first time, learning how to read thanks to the Reading Horizons program.

Project Read is an essential piece of San Juan County and (of) San Juan College. We have been in operation for 22 years and have community support through fiscal donations and volunteers. In addition, because we have implemented Reading Horizons, we have a stronger relationship with the reading department at the college.

Low-literacy skills impact the lives of students at Project Read in many, many ways – most often negatively. (A student) said, "I finally figured out that the only way I was going to change my life was to learn how to read." He recently left our program because, as he said, "I know how to read now." He moved from the area to take a better-paying job and (to) live closer to his family.

(Another) student said to his tutor, "Why didn’t they teach me this when I was in school? Life would have been so much easier.” For the first time in this student’s life, he finally understood the idea of reading and language. … He is truly learning how to read and has said, "I thought I would forget (what I’ve learned) after Christmas break, but I guess I can’t unlearn how to read.”

Grade Level: Adult Ed