Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Awful Stats

I'm back.

Whew! The time flew by, until yesterday, when I traveled for 20 straight hours to get home in one day (well, it actually lapped over into the next day.) That's a story for another post.

As always the other guests were part of the fun.

We first met Nancy and Russ from Chicago on our boat trip down the Sierpe River. They were on the boat for a bird watching trip and then made a detour to pick us up at the small boat dock. The next day, Nancy and Russ spent the day at San Josecito beach with Steve and me. We spent time getting to know each other and we hiked to the next beach (about a twenty minute jaunt and then swam up the Rio Claro River to a special spot that we know about. After a short climb we showed them a very beautiful grotto and waterfall. We don't show this to everyone, just special people!

But what I will remember forever is a conversation that Nancy and I had about her volunteer efforts with her dog in the inner city of Chicago. The dog is a mutt, but a well-trained mutt, because he helps the children in this program to learn to read better by just being a dog. Nancy said that many times a child will jump two grade levels in reading during the eight weeks in the program.

That's great, but here is the part that touched me. She said that those who plan for future prison needs, look at the number of illiterate third graders today (or whenever they are doing the planning) and then interpolate that into the number of prison cells they will need in the future.

Illiterate third graders of today, become prisoners of tomorrow.

Talk about investing in the future and making a long term commitment to our communities.

This conversation with Nancy happened on the very first day of vacation, but I can tell you that it will ring in my heart for many years to come.

Thanks, Nancy, for making a difference.

I have plenty more to share. But tell me, how do you think we can change these statistics?


Angie Weid said...

Welcome back!

Seems pretty straight forward to me: work on improving literacy in grade school. I have a third grader now that hated reading 2 years ago. He struggled. With a bit of extra effort, he's now a bookworm reading nearly at a 5th grade level.

Sandy of Sandy's Stuff for Women said...

Wow - what a sad statistic. Although I don't know how I would ever fit it into my schedule, that stat makes me want to volunteer to help turn things around.

About 20 years ago when I lived in Cleveland, I was an adult literacy volunteer. But the experience turned me off. I loved the intensive training and was told I would make a great literacy tutor.

My first "client" showed up late for our first appointment only to tell me that he couldn't stay. He then tried to borrow money from me. He failed to show up for the
2nd and 3rd appointments. I didn't want to do it anymore.

But I'm wondering what it would be like to help a small child learn to read - an exciting thought.

Who out there is willing to check out how we can help?

Debby said...

Nick Nigro, is helping with such a program. Contact him.

Cheryl Engfer said...

Welcome back!!

Get involved with Ohio Reads.

I tutored thru Washington Local Schools for about 4 years (from '99-2002). I worked with 1st graders who attended 1/2 day kindegarten. 1 hour twice a week--or less depending on your availability. At that time WLS was piloting all day every day kindegarten at Hiawatha, all day every OTHER day at the other schools. All based on a lottery system.
There were mixed reviews:
1) some parents didn't think their child was ready for all day every day
2) some parents weren't ready for their child to be GONE all day every day
3) many parents were elated they wouldn't have to pay for daycare
4) many parents had an issue with daycare with the every other day alternating each week

My daughter was at the end of 3 year pre-school when this came to light. Being a tutor I saw first hand 1st graders not knowing all their letters and numbers---in 1st grade. This to me was a huge concern. 1/2 day kindegarten was NOT ENOUGH. I saw my son struggle and to this day, he's not much of a reader. I asked at our school how I could become involved and got involved! I was determined when my little girl went to kindegarten she would go all day every day. She did and I'm glad I got involved.

It broke my heart the struggles these kids had with reading. Lola-my daughter, in 5th grade reading at a 7th-8th grade level. Most times she's reading 4 or 5 different books. I ask her how she keeps them straight LOL

If you don't have a child at the school you can still tutor. They run a background check for security. They welcome grandparents, aunts, uncles etc.

leasa said...

Ohio Reads is the best.

I volunteered at Stewart Elementary in the Toledo Public system from 2000 - 2002. A WONDERFUL experience. At the time, I was working for a nonprofit, and a group of my coworkers volunteered together. We even carpooled to our tutoring sessions twice each week. Not only did we help and bond with the students, we got to know each other much better too.