Community Projects 2010-2011

Fun & Phonics

In Sedgwick County, more than 27,000 children will struggle to learn to read proficiently.

That is why Junior League of Wichita partnered with the Fundamental Learning Center to implement a new preschool language and literacy training program in 2010-2011.

The program, called Fun & Phonics, used curriculum and literacy kits developed at Neuhaus Education Center in Houston, Texas. It was designed to develop the early foundational skills that enhance pre-literacy skills in young children by focusing on concepts of print, print knowledge, oral language development and phonological awareness.

The Fundamental Learning Center (FLC) is an educational resource center that provides literacy intervention for Kansas children who are at risk for significant reading difficulties.

The League and the FLC launched the program in October 2010 with an open house for area preschool directors and teachers.

As a result, 18 classrooms encompassing 400 students signed on to the Fun & Phonics project.

During the subsequent two months, the League and FLC conducted five teacher training sessions and distributed training kits for two units, In the Kitchen and Fun on the Farm.

"We are so grateful for all the information and opportunity to help our preschool grow," one teacher said.

Before starting the Fun & Phonics curriculum in January 2011, the teachers performed pre-assessments on their students. The data collected showed room for improvement in all classrooms.

To celebrate the completion of the program, the League worked with Watermark Books & Café to provide each classroom with sets of library books that complement the curriculum.

The book sets were revealed at a party that brought together the participating preschool teachers and directors, Fundamental Learning Center staff and Junior League of Wichita members.

Reading at the Ranch

Junior League of Wichita paired with Judge James V. Riddel Boys Ranch in Goddard for a year filled with renovating, reading and relationships throughout the League’s Reading at the Ranch project.Judge Riddel Boys Ranch is a home for teenage boys who have made mistakes. Generally, the boys live at the Ranch for up to six months as a transition between the Juvenile Detention Facility and home.

The goal of the project was to not only create an in-house library where boys at the Ranch could check out books to read, but also to hold three book clubs where League members read and discussed literature with residents. The intended outcome was a lifelong love of reading.

Much work went into turning a room in the basement of Judge Riddel Boys Ranch into a fully stocked, clean and sophisticated-looking library. Committee members were pleased with the results, said Lisa Mashnouk, chair of the project.

The room has new furniture, a fresh coat of paint, new ceiling tiles, a computer and, of course, hundreds of books. Committee members purchased selected titles, and Book-A-Holic of Wichita donated hundreds of books toward the project.

"This is the nicest room in the building now, truly," said Marcus West, independent living trainer at the Ranch.

The participants were chosen because of good behavior.

"The boys at the Ranch enjoy the interaction and learning about books," Junior League member Angela Buzard said. "It is a great partnership opportunity. Committee members who have participated have found it very rewarding."

Junior League of Wichita

6402 East 12th Street
Wichita, Kansas 67206-1306
Phone: 316.682.7473