At The Literacy Cooperative, our mission is to work to advance literacy by raising awareness of the issue, promoting effective public advocacy and fostering a delivery system with maximum impact on the region. This #GivingTuesday we need your help to be able to continue to fulfill our mission.
In Cuyahoga County 435,000 adults read below an 8th grade level. To put that into perspective, we could fill every seat at First Energy Stadium, Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, Wolstein Center, Public Auditorium, Public Hall and Playhouse Square with Cuyahoga County’s low-literate adults and there would still be 260,000 people left standing in the street. Many adults are unable to read bus schedules, medicine labels, nutritional information or their children’s homework. Making it difficult for them to find jobs, to keep themselves and their families healthy and for them to help their children succeed in their education.
Children who are born to illiterate or low-literate parents are less likely to be read to or spoken to at a young age. This creates a word gap from the very beginning of a child’s life. In 1995, Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley found that low-income children are exposed to 30 million fewer words than their higher-income peers before age 3. These children are behind from the very beginning of their lives.
There are communities in Cuyahoga County where more than 80% of children entering kindergartners are not academically prepared for school. From the very start, these children are facing an immense challenge — they start school having to play catch up in order to succeed in school. They have limited time to close this gap. By the end of third grade, children are reading to learn instead of learning to read and if they are not proficient readers by that point it becomes much more difficult for them to catch up to their peers. One in six children who are not reading proficiently by third grade will not graduate high school on time. These children are more at risk of dropping out of school and becoming part of a cycle that becomes difficult to break.
Children need to be exposed to literacy and learning from a young age. When parents are engaged in their child’s education, their children are more likely to get good grades, have fewer behavioral problems and are more likely to graduate on time. Unfortunately, this becomes difficult for low-literate parents. They are challenged to engage with their children’s schooling and therefore are unable to help them succeed academically.
The Literacy Cooperative is uniquely qualified to maximize the opportunities and provide the literacy leadership needed for real system change. For the last 10 years, The Literacy Cooperative has worked to improve literacy in the Greater Cleveland area. We concentrate our efforts in 3 focus areas, Early Literacy, Adult Literacy and Career Pathways, and Parent Engagement. With our 3 focus areas we cover all the areas of literacy, maximizing our efforts to help Greater Cleveland citizens improve their lives and thus help improve the community.
In the last 10 years, we have helped parents to be their child’s first teacher using SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids in Cuyahoga County). We are coordinating our community’s Reach Out and Read program to help new parents understand the importance of reading to their children daily and connecting them with infant and toddler programs to help in the learning process. Using an evidence based program, STEP, Supporting Tutors, Engaging Pupils, we trained hundreds of tutors to use structured lesson plans to assist children struggling with reading. We continuously advocate for adult literacy services connected to career pathways to allow low-literate adults to engage in training and employment that leads to family-sustaining wages. That’s why we are leading a partnership with northeast Ohio adult education providers and workforce development agencies to develop and implement contextualized curriculum programs in the Manufacturing, Healthcare, Hospitality and IT sectors. We advocate for the increase of adult and early literacy funding and stronger policies that provide greater opportunities for our low-literate residents to receive support and wrap around services to succeed. We partake in days like International Literacy Day and Read Across America day to bring awareness to the importance of literacy. To learn more about our work, be sure to take a look at our website or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
To continue to be an agent of change, The Literacy Cooperative needs your help. On Tuesday, November 29th, #GivingTuesday we are asking you to support our work with a contribution.
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving back to the community celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. #GivingTuesday was started in 2012 and was created to offset the intense shopping of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. People across the world come together to support and contribute to worthy causes and organizations. On Tuesday, November 29th we are asking for you to make a donation through our GiveGab page or through the donation button on our Facebook page. Through your generous support, we will be able to continue to fight the low-literacy crisis in Greater Cleveland.