The Literacy Cooperative’s 2019 2Gen Summit

Energetic conversations filled the room Friday, May 24th, as The Literacy Cooperative hosted the 2nd Annual 2Gen Summit to support whole family literacy. The 2Gen approach to literacy aligns and coordinates services for children, parents, and caregivers because research continually shows that a parent’s education level dramatically affects the educational success of their children. This […]

2018 Director’s Message / December Newsletter

As this year ends, it is always good to look back, make goals for the coming year, and feel energized for the work before us. Progress has been made and we appreciate all the efforts you have given to make Northeast Ohio a more literate community.

We are especially pleased for the support and encouragement we’ve received to advance a two generational (2Gen) service delivery strategy that considers the needs of the entire family. We convened a 2Gen Summit this past year that strategically gathered early childhood providers, adult literacy programs, and workforce agencies. This event featured two national speakers, panels of local experts, and a feedback session that discussed how we can align services, so the entire family’s needs can be addressed in an integrated manner. A 2Gen working group resulted from this summit. Look for a call to action that will be released soon.

The expansion of Imagination Library and Reach Out & Read this year has been exciting. Both are proven, universal interventions that connect to parents of babies and toddlers to support them in their role as their child’s first teacher. The first three years of a child’s life present a unique window of opportunity to positively impact brain development. The influence of Reach Out & Read physicians along with the monthly mailing of brand new books through Imagination Library will result in a child better prepared for school success.

The CLE-BEE, our annual corporate spelling bee fundraiser, was very fun night of competition for a good cause. We enjoyed bringing together professionals from different sectors to showcase their spelling skills while raising funds to continue our work in the community.  This year’s winner, Cleveland Public Library, was crowned the champion with the word “gallimaufry.” Try using it in a sentence!

Best wishes to you and your families during this holiday season. We look forward to the opportunities 2019 will bring for us to connect and collaborate.

Bob Paponetti

Click here for the December 2018 Newsletter.

STEP Tutoring in Warrensville Heights, March 2018

STEP-Supporting Tutors Engaging Pupils is a volunteer, one-on-one, structured tutoring intervention. It is designed to help build reading and language skills in K-3 students who are reading below grade level. It incorporates a structured reading strategy, trained volunteers and a qualified, onsite site coordinator. STEP can be used in schools, libraries, and community centers.

The Literacy Cooperative first introduced STEP in 2010. Since then, the STEP model has been used by schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Maple Heights School District, Euclid City Schools, and Warrensville Heights School District.

The Warrensville Heights’ STEP program has taken a unique approach by engaging their high school students to be the volunteer reading tutors. This cross-school connection has built community, given the teenagers a meaningful opportunity, and provided the youth with great role models, all while improving reading levels.

Warrensville first became interested in the STEP program three years ago, but didn’t have the tutor base they needed to introduce the program. When they considered they could recruit their high school students as tutors, they launched in 2015. This arrangement works perfectly since all of their schools are within a 3 mile radius and the district’s transportation department can take the high school students to and from the elementary school. They have focused on high school students who have electives during the same time the elementary students have recess.

Warrensville Heights School District recognizes that this program supports classroom literacy instruction and reading comprehension, but it also enhances social-emotional learning and attendance. Roxann Lozar, Primary Academic Coordinator says, “Having high school students as tutors has been a tremendous benefit because our elementary students see them as role models. I remember the first time the HS tutors came to the elementary building. All the children, not just the ones in the program, were in such awe of “the big kids” being in the building. We had cheerleaders, basketball and football players as tutors and this really sparked a lot of students’ interest.”

The program has had measurable success too. Warrensville Heights is targeting students that are within the 25-40 percentile range as measured by NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) MAP assessment. In the 2015-16 school year, Warrensville Heights’ STEP program targeted first and second grade students. For the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, they are working with just second grade students.

During 2015-2016, focused on second grade, STEP supported 18 students reading below grade level. The NWEA fall testing results were used to identify the 18 students. One hundred percent of the students who participated in the program made growth from fall to spring. One student made three years’ worth of growth. During 2017-2018, 31 second grade students participated in the program. 97% (30 students) made growth and 3% (1 student) showed flat growth from fall to spring as measured by the NWEA. 29% of the students ended the program reading above grade level.

Ms. Lozar credits having the qualified, onsite STEP Coordinator as the reason the program has done so well. Their coordinator maintains the program, schedules and trains the tutors, collects and monitors the data, and is present to answer volunteer questions and advise while the tutoring is taking place.

Contact Bob Paponetti to learn more about the STEP model.

2Gen Approach to Literacy, March 2018

Sharon Darling, NCFL

The Literacy Cooperative, with generous support from PNC, was very pleased to have Sharon Darling, president and founder of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) to address the community at The City Club of Cleveland on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. This event was an extended celebration of Read Across America Day, observed on March 2nd. 

Ms. Darling is a nationally recognized expert in family literacy who described a two-generational (2Gen) approach to literacy where child and care-giver are addressing their literacy needs together on an inter-generational pathway to education and independence. The NCFL works with local partners, shares innovative practices and resources, provides professional development, awards and funding, and advocates federal and state policies to sustain and expand family literacy and engagement services. We were honored to host Ms. Darling at this year’s luncheon.

In addition to her address at The City Club, Ms. Darling was interviewed by Wayne Dawson on Fox 8 News’ Morning Show with The Literacy Cooperative’s Bob Paponetti and appeared on 90.3’s radio program The Sound of Ideas with Dr. JaNice Marshall, The Literacy Cooperative Board Member and Assistant Vice-President of Access & Community Engagement for Cuyahoga Community College’s College Pathways Program. We were happy that Ms. Darling could share her message in a variety of venues. To see video clips of these interviews or to view photos from the luncheon, please click on the links.

A 2Gen approach embraces the entire family and encompasses more than just educational needs. It’s a blend of post-secondary education and employment pathways for adults and educational development and enrichment programs for children, combined with economic supports like access to housing, transportation, and financial literacy.

Likewise, physical health and mental health can be a component of the 2Gen approach since these have a major impact on a family’s ability to thrive, and are a critical factor in the well-being of children and their caregivers. Additionally, social capital is a key feature of the 2Gen approach. Social capital are relationships that empower and support a family. Contact with family and friends, participation in community and faith-based organizations or school and workplace relationships, as well as connection to case managers or career coaches can build a family’s social capital.

When education needs are addressed for adult and child simultaneously, with economic, health, and social supports integrated into the spectrum of services, families have better outcomes that are long- lasting.

There are different models of how to accomplish a 2Gen approach. Some have a primary focus on either the child or the adult, with additional services. Others have an integrated system or network. The challenge is for services to align, share data and evaluation tools, and to collaborate meaningfully so that families can advance themselves and realize their full potential.

There is an emerging body of research and findings that is available about the 2Gen approach. To learn more about it you can visit Aspen Institute’s Ascend Program and Annie E. Casey Foundation to access many of their resources.

Director’s Message, March 2018

As we each do our part to improve literacy in our community, more and more we see the need to coordinate and align our services. Literacy cuts across all sectors and spans a lifetime. From employers to clinics and schools, for children and adults, we need to focus our efforts on improving the skills of the whole family in all aspects of life. It’s a big commitment, but one we can do together.

In celebration of Read Across America, The Literacy Cooperative, with generous support from PNC, hosted a special luncheon featuring Sharon Darling, the founder and president of the National Centers for Families Learning (NCFL) on March 7th. NCFL advances literacy and education by developing, implementing, and documenting innovative and promising two-generation (2Gen) practices, networks, and learning tools. By assisting parents and caregivers, as well as, their children with their learning needs, the entire family is empowered. We were excited to have Ms. Darling in Cleveland to share her best practices and to inspire us to strengthen our own learning networks for families.

This issue of our newsletter gives an overview of what a 2Gen approach looks like with links to articles and resources on the topic. We hope you will find these useful and thought-provoking. The Literacy Cooperative will host a Literacy Summit on May 11, 2018 to bring together early childhood and adult literacy providers, along with other types of organizations that serve families. We hope this will be an opportunity to take a deeper look at 2Gen approaches and how we can work more closely with each other to provide coordinated services.

Also, take a look at the feature about the Warrensville Heights School District’s Supporting Tutors Engaging Pupils (STEP) program. STEP is a one-on-one, volunteer reading intervention for struggling learners that uses a 6 part approach to achieve success. Warrensville Heights has a strong program that utilizes high school students as their trained volunteer tutors. They have had great results and fostered a cross-school community.

As always, we appreciate the work you do to improve literacy. We are always looking for ways of connecting with you. We have a diverse set of trainings scheduled for this year. Check out our Events page on our website to see what upcoming sessions are planned. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter so we can be connected on social media and join our mailing list if you are interested in receiving our “Literacy Week in Review” e-blast.


Bob Paponetti