February 6, 2012

Home is the heart of the matter. It's where literacy begins.

Thanks to the massive new United Way initiative Success by Six in collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles, the first data set about early childhood development as it relates to school readiness in Central Texas has been released.

The findings are troubling. The regional stats are bad enough: only 52% of children entering school in Central Texas are school-ready. But in some Austin neighborhoods, such as St. John's and Dove Springs, the rate is an astonishing 12-15%. That means that only 1 in every 10 kindergarteners in these neighborhoods arrives at school ready to learn.

So what do we do? Where do we even begin to fill in the gaps to get these kids more ready to succeed in school? I propose a logic model to begin the conversation:
If we know that
a mother's literacy level is the #1 predictor of her children's success in school, then increasing parents' literacy rates will directly improve children's school readiness rates.
The Literacy Coalition is preparing to kick off a major campaign - Literacy Illuminates - to raise awareness of this issue and to connect parents and individuals to literacy services in our area. (Keep reading our blog to find out more about the campaign!) Success by Six is working to identify and strategize how to reach the kids in the target neighborhoods. But in the meantime, what can you do to help Central Texas kids succeed academically? Volunteer! Our partner agencies always need additional adult literacy instructors, tutors, and mentors. The Literacy Coalition even offers free training for volunteer instructors. Donate to the Literacy Coalition! For every $1 that's invested in us, we return $2.50 in resources to our partner agencies. That means we effectively double every donation that you make through our ability to leverage funds. Our community is mobilizing to address the impacts of low literacy in 2012 - especially as it affects our children. Won't you join us?

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