Yissel and Damaris

Yissel and Damaris are sisters in first and second grade respectively, in our Biblioteca-style project in Manguita. Every time I visit Manguita, I am both impressed and thrilled with parental involvement in the project. The parents of Manguita inspired us to take home teaching strategies, where we develop individualized strategies for parents to use in the house with their children to help us teach reading comprehension, mathematical reasoning, or any other area where the student is having difficulty, to an organizational level where we implement them in every project we do. Yissel and Damaris are great examples of the strategies’, and most importantly the parents’, success.

When we began our project in Manguita, both girls were still in pre-school and therefore were not expected to attend our after-school sessions. However, they both showed up, every day, and participated as best they could. We began working with their mother and father on very basic numeracy (to be specific, number recognition) because neither girl new their numbers. Last year when I visited I watched Damaris blow through her multiplication tables and Yissel answer complex addition and subtraction problems. On this last visit, they were both correctly interpreting, resolving, and responding to mathematical logic problems!

Both girls are clearly very smart and talented, and we have a great teacher, Prof. Hernan, working for us in Manguita. However, a clear reason for Yissel’s and Damaris’s rapid advancement has a lot to do with their parents’ enthusiasm. Both mother and father visit the project often to see how their kids are doing, both implement and even create new teaching strategies in the home to work with Hernan on their academics, and it is therefore clear that both parents play an active role in their daughters’ lives.

The power of involved parents is undeniable, and Yissel and Damaris are proof!