The Role of After-School Programs in Children's Literacy Development
Julie Spielberger, Robert Halpern2002
Fostering children's literacy is an increasingly common interest of after-school programs serving low-income children. As they work with children day-in and day-out, after-school providers observe (especially during homework time) that a good number of low-income children are not acquiring solid literacy skills in school. Many children who have adequate basic skills do not grasp the meaning of what they read, write creatively, or enjoy reading or writing. These perceptions have prompted many after-school providers to wish to do more to foster literacy. Chapin Hall researchers undertook a study designed to provide a basic picture of the after-school field in relation to fostering low-income children's literacy. The study had two main components: a survey of the literacy practices and environments of more than 200 after-school programs in two distinct urban areas, Chicago and Seattle, and case studies of sixteen after-school programs with exemplary or innovative approaches to children's literacy in Chicago, New York City, and Seattle. The authors found that despite being a strong base for children's literacy development, after-school programs have much work to do in order to fully address literacy issues.