SitStayRead provides year-round programming for low-income students in kindergarten through third grades in Chicago Public Schools. Each grade’s curriculum is designed to support key literacy skills at that level. Each grade-level program is created in partnership with our Program Advisory Committee, which includes SitStayRead staff, volunteers, teachers, and faculty from the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Literacy, University of Chicago, DePaul University, and Northeastern Illinois University.
In our new Kindergarten program, piloted in Spring 2018 and gradually expanding in Spring 2019, a team of two Book Buddies, one Dog Team, and a Program Leader visit a classroom for a one-hour visit, once a week, over six consecutive weeks. During each visit, the Program Leader engages the class in a read-aloud of a dog-themed picture book and group discussion. Students then transition to small group stations to work with Book Buddies. These stations are focused on sight words, writing, and Dog Team visits.
The goal of this program is to practice reading common high-frequency sight words and to identifying key details in a story. Dog Team visits introduce students to the concept of having dogs in their classroom and teach them dog safety skills.
1st Grade | Little Buddies
In our Little Buddies program, a team of one Book Buddy, one Dog Team and a Program Leader visit a classroom for a one-hour visit, once a week. Little Buddies visits take place over the course of six consecutive weeks. Each class engages in a read aloud and group discussion, followed by an individual creative writing and drawing activity. This program focuses on big picture literacy skills like character identification, sequencing and listening comprehension. It also introduces students to the concept of having dogs in the classroom and has a special focus on social emotional learning.
2nd Grade | Tail Blazers
In our Tail Blazers program, a team of three Book Buddies, three Dog Teams and a Program Leader visit a classroom for a one-hour visit, once a week, over the course of eight consecutive weeks. During these visits, Book Buddies lead small-group fluency activities and conduct structured brainstorming sessions, before supporting students in independent creative story writing. Students also spend one-on-one reading time with Dog Teams. The goal of this program is to improve reading fluency, while also building comprehension skills and written expression.
3rd Grade | Poetry Pals
In our Poetry Pals program, a team of three Book Buddies, three Dog Teams and a Program Leader visit a classroom for a one-hour visit, once a week, over the course of six consecutive weeks. Poetry Pals visits include small-group reading activities, comprehensive discussions about the poems, and independent poetry writing with Book Buddies, as well as one-on-one reading time spent with Dog Teams. The goal of this program is to improve reading comprehension, while also building written expression.