Do you remember your favorite book as a kid? One that you were fully immersed into the world the author’s words would take you to? Was it the wizarding world of Harry Potter or getting tongue twisted with Dr. Seuss? Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Unfortunately many children won’t have the opportunity to be drawn into new worlds by books because they cannot read. Illiteracy is a threat to the livelihood and success of our youth.
At The Literacy Project our mission is to eliminate the literacy gap of emerging 2nd-graders who are functionally illiterate. Studies have shown that many students begin to fall behind in literacy levels by the time they reach fourth grade. After that, their ability to catch up decreases significantly. Without reading, students do not have the skills they need to be successful in their academic careers, and their life options are limited. Once students start to fall behind in reading, they tend to fall faster and further behind their peers. Our goal is to ensure reading proficiency by third grade since it has a direct correlation to a student’s success in both graduating high school and seeking a college education.
Our master teachers at The Literacy Project take 4-6 kids at a time and use key phonic skills in a board game format which promotes learning in a fun and engaging way. Ms. Barrios and Ms. Silva, the 2nd grade teachers at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Anaheim said, “working in a small group I think kids feel comfortable, they are targeted with those skills that they need and it’s an extra time that, as classroom teachers, we don’t have to give to everyone… so this has really been great for them.” Our students have so much fun with their classmates and our teachers, they don’t realize how much they’re learning! In January 2020 we celebrated our 11th birthday and in the past decade we have helped nearly 10,000 struggling students learn to read and our passion for teaching kids is working. “The greatest thing I see about this program is that they really do develop that long life desire to keep reading, it motivates them and that’s awesome. They want to pick up a book and read… they become motivated readers, they’re given the skills that they need and they just want to read, they insist on reading. The love of reading is just awesome.”
In the coming years we will continue to help the students in Orange County, Coachella Valley, Park City, Utah and recently added Arizona. Building confidence, hope and joy in kids is something we will never forget. So in the words of Albus Dumbledore, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic,” we hope to continue to give that gift of literacy to children for many years to come.