Before our Beyond School program, DeArius struggled with reading. He would sit down with his favorite magazine, ESPN, and immediately flip to stories about his favorite basketball players. Despite his desire to learn, he wasn’t able to read all of the words on the page.

DeArius is a sixth grader at South City Preparatory Academy. He’s a student in our Beyond School program, a year-round expanded learning opportunity that empowers students to get back on track to graduating high school.

At the beginning of the year, DeArius was reading individual words but struggling to understand sentences and paragraphs. Within four weeks in Beyond School, DeArius’ fluency level increased from a third grade to a fifth grade level. Now he’s reading full passages.

DeArius can see how he’s growing in Beyond School. He tells us the program helps him to focus on fluency while reading paragraphs during our literacy sessions.

Rebekah is DeArius’ Success Coach. Beyond School Success Coaches serve as mentors to guide students academically and emotionally. She says she sees DeArius’ determination to improve his reading every day.

DeArius is reading his third novel since school began in August, having read the second novel in six days. His smile grows as he tells us about his favorite book this year, “Left Behind” by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. Like any kid, his favorite chapter was about the food fights.  Now his class is reading “The Lightning Thief,” the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

DeArius takes the same approach to improving his reading as he does to getting better at basketball: practice and patience. And as DeArius’s reading improves, he’ll be able to continue to discover new books into high school and beyond.

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