OSWEGO, NY – The Literacy Coalition of Oswego County was recently awarded a $31,000 grant from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation to fund a new, pilot family literacy program, “Read To Them.”
“We are extremely grateful to Karen Goetz, foundation executive director, and to the Shineman Foundation for their support,” said Mike Egan, LCOC president. “This grant will enable LCOC and its partner school districts, Fulton, Mexico and Oswego to launch the ‘Read To Them’ pilot, ‘One District, One Book’ program with elementary students. We are working in concert with each of these districts we are grateful for their support.”
According to its website (readtothem.org):
“One District, One Book is a program designed to create a shared reading experience across an entire school community. Choose a classic children’s novel. Provide every student – in every school – with a copy. Following a common schedule across your district, every family reads that book together at home. Every family in your school community reads the same book at the same time.
“In each school, you maximize the shared reading experience by presenting enriching activities that enable children to share and experience the characters and world of each book.
“The ideal titles for the program are those that can be understood by early readers and yet still interest experienced readers – classics such as E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, newer titles such as Betty G. Birney’s The World According to Humphrey series. When you choose to read two or even three titles together in a year, you expose your students to a wider array of characters and worlds, and you continue to lay a firm foundation for family literacy.
“During the month it takes to read your One District, One Book selection, schools implement a variety of activities each day to heighten and promote interest in and discussion of the book, from daily trivia questions to exciting assemblies to school-wide art and music and projects. Students experience the story with their family and enjoy participating in the follow-up activities at school the next day. This strategy builds daily awareness of the details of each story and encourages deep, attentive, and personally gratifying listening habits. When your school models the habit of regularly reading together as a family, you create a strong foundation for literacy in each child’s life.
“When you read a children’s novel – or more than one novel – across an entire district, you spark a community-wide conversation. That conversation takes place on playgrounds and parking lots, in grocery stores and churches, across your district. A conversation that rich, involving hundreds and thousands of students and families inspires a rich appreciation of literature and lifelong readers. It establishes a culture of family literacy.”
According to Egan, LCOC has identified Early Family Literacy as an additional focus for the organization.
“As a growing coalition, we continually strive for visibility in Oswego County for all the providers and services offered to improve literacy in all areas. These include basic, workforce, computer, health and financial,” he said. “We also centralize information about literacy agencies and their programs, literacy events in the community, and we provide ways everyone can get involved, or access to participate.”
An estimated 40 to 44 million adults in the United States demonstrate skills in the lowest level of prose, document, and quantitative proficiencies.
Many are unable to total an entry on a deposit slip, locate the time and place on a meeting form, or identify a piece of specific information in a brief news article (ProLiteracy Worldwide).
In Oswego County, close to 17,000 adults cannot read above a fifth grade reading level.
For more information about the Literacy Coalition of Oswego County, visit its Facebook page, or go to www.oswegocounty.com and click on the literacy coalition link.