USD alumna Bonni Boschee has committed herself to creating an open environment for students of all ages to improve their reading skills.
Boschee created the Read2Soar program, which improves the reading level of students in a matter of months, after she spent more than 16 years in education. Clients meet with her once a week to work on their skills.
“After being a teacher for 16 years and then stepping into higher education, I realized that every other conversation I had with a parent was about a struggling reader, difficulty in school, based on lack of reading skills,” Boschee said.
Lauren Mandernach is an eighth grader who’s been participating in Boschee’s program since September. Her initial testing put her at a fouth-grade, fifth-month reading accuracy level – three months later she was at an 11th-grade, fourth-month level of accuracy.
“It’s not as much of a struggle reading in class, especially science class,” she said. “It’s easier to do homework in lots of subjects.”
Lauren Mandernach’s father, Trevor Mandernach, said having Lauren and her younger brother Caiden in Boschee’s program has transformed their home.
“I think it’s been fantastic for the whole family,” he said. “It’s just nice to see kids grow in an extremely important area, academics.”
A simple system
Boschee has seen great results from Read2Soar.
She starts with an assessment which she said is within 96 percent reliability of where a student’s reading rate, accuracy, fluency and comprehension lie. After she assesses a student, she comes up with what she calls a “flight plan.”
She uses a photo of an airplane to explain the process to the children she coaches.
“So when this was designed for me, I said if I have a system that is just very simple then I’ll stick with it,” Boschee said. “I knew for sure what the assessment was going to be, but I couldn’t figure out how I was going to make this work for children. In the meantime, my son was getting his pilot license and I decided that would be really cool to use the same kind of language that the pilots do. So, I told the children you are the pilot on the airplane, I’m the little wing and your mom and dad are on the big wing.”
Boschee said strong reading skills are essential for success in other aspects of school.
“If you’re not reading at grade level, it is highly probable that you will not continue your educational journey because reading is such a struggle for you,” she said. “It’s very difficult to fly without a foundation of reading at grade level and/or higher.”
Currently, Boschee is coaching 10 students. She’s coached many of all ages throughout the years. She has one father of a student who stays for phonics coaching because he never learned them.
For example, she also coached a college football player at Northern State University who was about to lose his scholarship because his reading level was so low, resulting in low grades across the board.
Boschee is now in the process of copyrighting the curriculum so she can teach it to other teachers.
Lauren Mandernach’s mother Robin Mandernach said she has seen her children’s lives improve through the program and the way Boschee individualizes her approach with each student.
“I think Bonni does a great job of connecting with the kids and finding what their strengths are and using those to motivate them to enjoy reading,” she said.
Boschee has no plans of stopping her work anytime soon. She said her work is her passion, and sees it as her gift to give back to the community.
“One of my mentors was the most winningest basketball coach at North State University, coach Don Meyers, and he said, ‘You find your gift, you develop your gift and you give it away,’” she said.