Reading is Magic (RIM) – A Key Strategy in Santa Fe’s Ready to Read Initiative, Collective Impact to Increase 3rd Grade Reading Proficiency in Santa Fe
Reading empowers us and makes it possible to navigate our world. Reading provides us the “currency” to participate in society. Reading at grade-level by the end of 3rd grade is a milestone in education. In Santa Fe, less than one-third of third-graders (28%) in the Santa Fe Public School reach this milestone.
Reading is Magic (RIM) is a free summer and afterschool reading program for 2nd to 4th grade students in the Santa Fe Public Schools. It is a collaboration between our school and Reading Quest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to children’s literacy. Rayna Dineen, Reading Quest’s founder and executive director, started Reading is Magic when she was the principal of Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences. Every Wednesday, we pick up students in our school bus from three nearby schools - Sweeney Elementary, Cesar Chavez, and Ramirez Thomas. The after school program is led by our own Aurora Hvidsten, Unicorn Preschool-Pre K Teacher. Leilani Maloney, our Stargazer Assistant Teacher and K-2 Drama Teacher, is the Assistant RIM Afterschool Teacher. Our own 6th to 8th grade students have received extensive training to be reading tutors.
Heading into its 7th year, Reading is Magic has had consistent and remarkable outcomes - students gained on average a grade level’s growth after the two-week summer interventions and 1 year and 6 months of growth after the 9-month after school intervention.
At Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, students, families and teachers value service as a core value. Service is how we have been able to build and sustain our school, becoming a joyful learning community where students become life-long learners. Reading is Magic evolved out of Hooked on Books, a middle school expedition community service project that involved bookshelves around our community and reading contests. Since that time, our school has focused more on Reading is Magic.
Reading is Magic offers our own Arts & Sciences students the opportunity to learn valuable skills as tutors and student assistant teachers. Badger and Middle School students, as well as Arts & Sciences alumni, are central to the program. Older peers help the younger kids discover the joy of reading! Over the years, some of our Reading is Magic alumni have been able to receive financial aid scholarships and attend our regular school program.
In May 2017, the Reading is Magic students in the afterschool program wrote appreciations and reflections about their experience in the afterschool program. Please click here to watch the YouTube video. Here are examples of what they shared, “Before Reading is Magic, I hated reading.Now I enjoy reading.When I first started I was really behind, but now I am way ahead.”
“I appreciate my tutor Micah who is my best friend.He helped me out with new words and now I am getting better grades on my school work.” “When I grow up I will be a book seller, and I will save money to buy a nice home for me and my family and I will buy books for Reading is Magic.”
Collective Impact We understand that the problem of low literacy is an adaptive problem. It is complex, and the systemic answers are not completely clear. Even if they were, no single organization has the resources or the authority to bring about the systemic changes needed to turn the curve on 3rd grade reading proficiency.
In the spirit of modeling service and providing meaningful service opportunities for our students, Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences is committed to Reading is Magic and our role in advancing a collective impact solution to the problem of low literacy in our community.
Reading is Magic is a part of Opportunity Santa Fe’s Ready to Read Initiative, a collaboration co-chaired by Amy Miller, Executive Director of The May Center for Learning, and Perli Cunanan, Executive Director of Santa Fe School for Arts & Sciences. Key partners include Santa Fe Public Schools, May Center for Learning, Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, Reading Quest, Communities in Schools, Santa Fe Literacy Volunteers, Santa Fe Food Depot, and Santa Fe Public Libraries.
After years of coordinating and conducting Reading is Magic camps as a volunteer and employee of Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, Dineen is poised to expand the success of the Reading is Magic program to reach more students. Our school is excited to see Reading Quest plant the seeds of Reading is Magic’s success all over Santa Fe. Arts & Sciences will continue to run Reading is Magic as a lab school on our campus, while Reading Quest grows and reaches more students around the city.
For more information, please call Rayna Dineen at 920-9709 or Perli Cunanan at 438-8585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Annual Fund helps to meet the School's ongoing need for flexible, unrestricted income to support our academic mission. As unrestricted gifts, these contributions are used by SFSAS on a daily basis where the needs and opportunities are greatest.
Hooked on Books
The Alliance for Literacy is a partnership between schools, libraries, local businesses and organizations working together to increase literacy in Santa Fe and get kids hooked on reading. We are empowering students to take charge of their own education by increasing time spent reading through the use of contests, book exchanges and tutoring.
The Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences is committed to academic excellence, developed through Expeditionary Learning and a multicultural art and science enriched curriculum, in an environment of respect, inclusion and diversity.