EARLY CHILDHOOD SUMMER PROGRAM
The WITS Early Childhood Summer Program (ECSP) is a literacy-based kindergarten readiness program that prepares early learners as they enter elementary school, helping them build the foundation to be reading proficiently by 3rd grade. With the support of WITS volunteers, students practice emergent literacy skills such as letter name and sound recognition, book and print awareness, and early writing skills. Each site is led by a teacher from its respective school, allowing WITS to introduce students to classroom routines and relationships that support a smooth transition to kindergarten in the fall. ECSP mentors commit to volunteering one to four days a week, 9:00am-11:30am, for five weeks from early July to early August.
Mid-Day Mentoring (MDM) supports 2nd and 3rd grade students during the later stages of the transition from learning to read and reading to learn. This significant, and often difficult, milestone requires students to exercise strong foundational literacy skills in order to comprehend increasingly challenging curriculum. Volunteers travel to the school and are paired with the same student for an entire school year. Volunteer-student pairs spend time reading aloud and building comprehension skills through conversation. MDM mentors make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment from October-May.
ROCHELLE LEE TEACHER AWARD
Rochelle Lee Teacher Award Study Groups are school-based professional learning communities. Study groups develop a goal to guide their learning throughout the school year, and meet monthly to discuss instruction and push their practice to reach their goal. Study Groups allow teachers to have a school-wide impact on student literacy instruction. The application is open from mid-December through mid-March. Awardees are announced late April of each year.
WITS KINDER- GARTEN
Discovering the world of books
WITS Kindergarten (WITSK) develops trusting and fun relationships between adults and students with the intention of developing the mindset for learning at an important developmental age. WITS Kindergarten mentors read one-on-one with kindergarten students, helping them build book and print awareness, letter name and sound recognition, as well as developing a lifelong love of reading. WITSK volunteers commit to working with the same students once a week for 60-90 minutes from October-May.
Workplace Mentoring (WPM) provides one-on-one mentorship in a professional setting. 4th through 8th grade students are bussed after school to downtown corporate offices, where they spend time reading. WITS program facilitators lead literacy-based activities, which foster student-mentor conversation and bonding. Participating students also gain insight about what it is like to be a professional employee at a major Chicago firm. WPM mentors make a weekly or bi-weekly commitment from October-May.
WITS ON THE WEEKEND
STEAM at work
WITS on the Weekend (WoW) is a team-based reading and mentoring program that takes place for two hours on Saturday mornings from October to May. 3rd through 6th grade students meet their volunteer mentors at school to engage in team-building activities, recreational reading, and cooperative learning challenges focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) concepts. No previous STEAM experience is necessary. WoW volunteers commit to 16 select Saturdays from October-May, 10:00am-12:00pm.