May 12, 2004
Four third-graders at Galveston Elementary School in Chandler were looking at the word "slip" projected on a screen when the word "slap" also appeared.
"What happened to the word?" asked Michael Buist, who is teaching an after-school program to improve students’ reading skills.
All four students raised their hands as high as they could wanting to answer the question.
Getting kids excited about reading is just one component of the RAVE-O program, which stands for Retrieval, Automaticity, Vocabulary, Engagement with language and Orthography.
The program is being researched at the school by Gil Noam and Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University and Tami Katzir of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Along with Galveston, two schools in Malden, Mass., and Moon Mountain School in Phoenix are participating in the study. Next year, Boston elementary schools will be added. In all, 270 children will take part in the study.
The study also includes the Rally for Kids program, in which counselors work with students on social issues such as anger management and talking about feelings.
At Galveston Elementary, the research started in January and involves 45 students.
Fifteen students are in both RAVEO and Rally for Kids program, 15 are just in the RAVE-O program and 15 are in the control group that participates in the regular after-school program that includes homework help and various physical activities.
Study participant Magaly Lopez, 10, said she doesn’t miss her free afterschool time.
"The best part of coming is learning and seeing Mr. Buist," Lopez said. "I am also able to read better and to be smart."
The Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and the Haan Foundation donated a total of $2 million to the project, said Galveston principal Gina Vukovich.