"It's just different here"
Thirty years ago, I was a young mother raising two kids. Our favorite pastime was going to our local library and reading children's books. My children excitedly walked down the aisles to pick a wide array of stories, and we read them together for hours. As an immigrant, I knew how difficult English reading and writing could be. I realized the importance of encouraging my children to love reading and writing at a young age. I wanted to help my children to start developing their writing skills so that they could get ahead academically for the future.
One day, a thought came to me to develop writing assignments based on each book. I started creating assignments based on the books that we read together. My children, especially my daughter who was in second grade at the time, completed the assignments I had created. The result was a better understanding of the book and a higher ability to read and write because the writing assignment was tailored to the book. I realized I was onto something.
Having then accumulated about fifty assignments, I had an idea to try the program with other children. I rented a small room in our church and set up a temporary center. On the first day, eight students came. Over the years, SpiderSmart has expanded to help thousands of students, and we are still growing. Now we have centers nationwide.
In the classic children's book Charlotte's Web, Charlotte writes words and phrases on her web that end up saving her friend Wilbur's life. We believe good writing can do that. More importantly, we want to emulate Charlotte's "true and loyal" heart and character in our centers. Just like Charlotte the spider, SpiderSmart centers are warm, caring, and always ready to help. As one SpiderSmart student noted, "It's just different here!"
- Jeannie Jung, President/Founder