No reader left behind.
That’s the vision of Read Muskegon.
Angela struggled in school as far back as she can remember, staring at pages of words never able to make enough sense of them to feel confident she understood their meaning. When she became a parent, she relied on others to read all of the medical, social service, and government forms she needed to complete. Finally, when her son was diagnosed with a learning difference, she sought out Read Muskegon, knowing that if she wanted to help her son to learn, she had to help herself first.
Today, there are many ways that Angela’s determination to overcome her own illiteracy have made a critical difference in her son’s academic success. She can participate in his IEP meetings with more confidence. She feels comfortable taking him to the library, where they love to pick out books together. She is taking classes to become a CNA and provide a more stable income for her family. And, during the pandemic she was able to help her son with his schoolwork, something she wouldn’t have been able to do just a few years ago.
In the United States, 93 million adults function at or below basic levels of literacy, and 30 million of those adults are a parent or primary caregiver of children under the age of 8.
For these individuals, supporting their children with homework and other learning needs is already challenging when schools are open, but attempting to support virtual learning was nearly impossible. Prior to the pandemic, more than half of Muskegon County 3rd graders were not reading at grade level. They now predict that percentage will rise due to lost learning during school closures. The children of low-literacy adults are at the greatest risk of being left behind, keeping them stuck in the generational cycles of illiteracy and poverty. Research tells us that the very best way to disrupt this cycle of illiteracy is through holistic solutions that don’t just target the child but focus on the literacy needs of the whole family.
In response, Read Muskegon has increased our investment in programs that focus on family literacy:
- Building on the success of our ABCs of Cooking early literacy program, we are developing ABCs of Art and ABCs of Song & Sounds and will offer them throughout Muskegon County.
- Expanding our 2Gen tutoring program that works with the parent and child simultaneously, empowering parents to participate in their child’s education.
- Working with faith leaders to develop and host family literacy programs in their places of worship.
Read Muskegon relies on the support of our community to sustain and grow our work to break the generational cycle of illiteracy. As 2021 comes to a close, I hope you will consider increasing your own investment in Read Muskegon, helping us to empower individuals and build stronger communities through the gift of literacy.
You can make your tax-deductible donation online at www.readmuskegon.org.