Is an awareness campaign that focuses on the link between a child’s academic success and their verbal interaction with their parents and caregivers before age 3. Learn more.
Community Initiatives We Support
Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK), a home-based, kindergarten readiness program for three and four-year old children, focuses on helping pre-school age children become ready for kindergarten by helping parents in their role as their child’s first teacher. The program provides individual in-home tutoring sessions with parent partners, lessons and activities based on Ohio Early Learning Content Standards, educational supplies, health screenings, assessments and referrals, and assistance with the transition to kindergarten.
SPARK is an initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is currently offered in seven counties in Ohio. SPARK Cuyahoga program services are provided under the umbrella of Invest in Children, Cuyahoga County’s public-private partnership serving young children and families.
STEP (Supporting Tutors Engaging Pupils) is a structured tutoring program designed to help build reading and language skills in K-3 students who are below grade level. The goal of STEP is to provide skill-based instruction to improve literacy outcomes by helping students acquire the skills necessary for literacy success.
STEP uses a combination of two research based programs: Ready Readers and Book Buddies. Ready Readers are books with skill based text designed to address the individual needs and abilities of each child. Book Buddies provides the structure for one-on-one, scripted lessons based on assessment. Students receive structured lessons consisting of both re-reading and new reading, word play (phonics) and a writing exercise to practice the phonics skills learned during the lesson. Tutors follow a scripted, research based, four-part lesson plan that supports the development of fluency (through re-reading), vocabulary development, comprehension and word knowledge (through reading new text), alphabetic principle and decoding skills (phonics activities) and writing (writing activities). Lessons are delivered for thirty minutes twice a week. Each participating child is assessed to determine appropriate placement in the scope and sequence associated with the program and is assessed at regular intervals to ensure he/she receives individualized support to address specific learning gaps.
Given the documented importance of learning to read, a pilot of STEP was launched, beginning with first grade students at Marion-Sterling School in Cleveland during the 2010-2011 school year. The lesson plans are scripted so tutors with no background in education can deliver a comprehensive and meaningful instructional lesson. Tutors provide ongoing feedback after each lesson through a journaling system and children are monitored to be sure lessons are delivered at the appropriate skill level (emergent, beginner, or fluent).
Following a successful pilot, STEP has been offered at select schools within the Maple Heights, Euclid and Cleveland Metropolitan School Districts.