Read NOW: The Power of Positive Thinking
By Joe Olvera ©, 2010
Beth Mendoza believes strongly in the power of positive thinking. So strongly, that, when she realized that too many school children were struggling to read, she decided to get involved. “I saw that there was a great need. A friend asked me to tutor her daughter, who had problems reading. I was reluctant at first, but, when I saw the need, I decided, yes, let’s do it.”
Mendoza, a Curriculum and Instructional Specialist at O’Shea Keleher, said she initially received her inspiration to create a program that would teach kids to read when she was watching Oprah. “She was discussing a book called ‘Secret,’ which focuses on the power of positive thinking. I realized that there was a great need, that too many school children are not able to read at their grade level.
“Read NOW occurred to me as one way to remedy the problem,” Mendoza said. “It’s not that the schools are not teaching kids to read, they are. However, not every teacher has the ability to teach reading skills. Not every teacher is trained to teach reading. Our educators at Read NOW are fully up-to-date with the latest educational research and strategies. They provide positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.”
Read NOW was founded under the principle that effective reading instruction is comprised of five components, including phonemic awareness, word identification/phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Unlike other reading programs, Read NOW is affordable, at $100 per week, and, if the child does not need tutoring, the parents are immediately informed.
“We don’t have contracts, all our students are on a pay-as-you-go arrangement,” Mendoza said. “Literacy should not have a financial barrier. We believe that lengthy contracts are not necessary for the struggling reader to make progress. At Read NOW, we create a warm, nurturing environment that will allow your child to grow intellectually, socially, and personally.”
Mendoza said that parents can also be reading instructors, but, they must commit. She suggested that parents should read to their children every day. They should stop at the end of each paragraph to ask the child if he understood what he read. Another thing she suggests is to focus on fluency – that is, how fast do they read and how well do they comprehend. Time them, work on the same passage until the child gets it right. Don’t just skip to the next graph in frustration.
For the interested parent, Read NOW can be contacted at 694-4992, or be visited at 10420 Montwood, Suite F. Children are accepted from ages 6 to 16, with classes held Monday through Friday, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. “Each child is assessed prior to enrolling,” Mendoza said. “If the child is assessed as not needing tutoring, we tell the parents immediately. We tell them that the child does not need tutoring. We’ve come across kids that simply needed glasses.”