Literacy Town Hall Break-Out Discussion Notes

Thanks to those who participated in the break-out discussions at the March 7, 2016 Literacy Town Hall meeting hosted by Reading Partners and TCCC.  The following notes resulted from the guided discussions and will help inform TCCC as we develop a path forward to improve literacy.

What in your experiences are the factors contributing to proficiency in early literacy?
  • early interventionist trained and Reading Recovery
  • talk and oral language and using play to develop language
  • conducting parental workshops
  • working pediatricians to identify students who have sight or hearing issues
  • provide audio rich home environments (read, speak, storytelling, question and response interaction, oral engagement)
  • parent child home program home visitation program that teaches parents how to read to their child (Charleston County  using Title I dollars to help fund this program but only 1012 families)
  • need to partner with employees who can provide parents the opportunity to be involved in their child’s education
  • Adult education programs
  • Early Intervention
  • Building vocabulary
  • The acknowledgement that there are many factors to proficiency
  • Access to books
  • Differentiation of instruction
  • Being inclusive of parents knowing what is happening at home for each child
  • Focusing on the individual child
  • Focusing on the whole child
  • Meeting basic needs of the family first
  • Good prenatal care
  • The ability of teachers to recognize the factors
  • Knowing how to use data
  • Having a plan for every child, being positive in our approach to messaging all children need an individual plan, not just those in poverty, or of a certain race
  • Having high expectations for all children
  • 2 year olds in quality program
  • Assessment of parents’ ability to educate (especially for ESL students)
  • Mothers Reading Skills
  • Exposure to reading in the home
  • Vocabulary
  • Social/Emotional
  • Early Attachment
  • Culture
  • Family Telling Stories with pictures
  • Focus on Fluency – articulation (audio Tapes)
  • Libraries could help – give books to parents
  • Differentiate ways to influence literacy (help parents/teachers/everyone know what to do)
  • Multi-generational grandparents involved
  • Environment – set tone at the school – professional standards for everyone who comes into school
  • Shouldn’t fail students – retention is not the answer
  • Takes time for some children to learn to read (5 years)need to give them the time they need
  • Parents need to know about Read to Succeed – time to get prepared
  • Factory mentality in the classroom to much focus on classroom management – students need to move around
  • 1:1 reading starting very early, reward recognition anywhere
  • Lack of books
  • # of words children do know ora re even familiar with
  • Reading partners gets to take books home
  • 98% K-5th don’t know vowels
  • Lack of phonics
  • Lack of teachers trained on phonics
  • Simple word recognition – in public places -> could be a parent tip
  • Need for more parent awareness of what things they can do to help their children
  • Utilization of libraries
  • A public internet campaign would help
  • John – multi-generational situations, toxic surroundings – what strategies would help?
  • How do we help children get the reading bug
  • The difficulty of parents’ own literacy exposure to “language” by parents speaking to them.
  • How do we get parents to expose children to language?
  • After lack of respect for authority by these children need parental education on respecting authority
  • If we caught the parents before they became parents (even at high school) to prepeare tehm and educate them
  • Parent education on how they can begin even after birth to elp them prepare
  • Parental contracts might help (shared)
  • Preparation of exposure
  • Home environment -> vocab development; 30M word gap
  • Lack of control over home environment
  • How kids have learned to adapt; kids ‘read’ from pictures or recite books they’ve memorized -> allows kids to ‘fly under the radar’
  • Role of libraries was taken advantage of more in past and is sometimes harder now b/c of transportation
  • Oral language and sense of story are critical; helps w/ questions and answers, job interviews
  • Lack of non-stigmatized parental education programs (MN has a great state program, similar to something previously in Chas w/ Sharon Ward)
Where have you encountered ‘bright spots’ that have shown positive outcomes in early literacy?
  • Meeting Street Academy at Brentwood
  • Harlem Children Zone Baby College
  • Reading Recovery
  • Adult Education TLA  simultaneous learning for adult and child. GED and then childcare lessons
  • Library reading programs
  • Going to migrant camps to do outreach to families with young children
  • Parent – Child Home Program (in Dorchester County through First Steps)
  • All programs of First Steps
  • WIC conducting story-time with children and mothers while waiting for their appointment
  • Accessing the Reading Warehouse (Dorchester County)
  • Infant toddler books in school libraries that families can check out (more like a take a book program)
  • Primary Grades Academy Offers Reading Recovery and literacy intervention
  • Barnes and Noble providing books, need to mine this resource more effectively
  • Scholastic Book Partners (consider finding a way for businesses to help with this)
  • Book Worm Angels
  • Michelle Obama Access to online text all districts have this and need to get the word out
  • Title 1 Parent Centers (Dorchester)
  • Cainhoy capitalized on business, church, and other partnerships in the community to identify interventions and then implement them together (Reading Partners and others). Mr. Dixon
  • Conduct training with teachers on the Tiers of Intervention so they know and trust what students are leaving their classroom for
  • DDS Reading Buddies Volunteers in kindergarten classrooms to help with reading, how to read a book, provide 1:1 reading and tutoring mostly retired teachers (some trained on Reading Recovery)
  • Tutoring with Reading Partners – child moving to reading at grade level or above
  • Mentoring/coaching teachers
  • Parents showing success – kids do better
  • Mother getting GED – wanting to be an example for child
  • Small steps in literacy should be recognized—any improvement should be recognized
  • Showing examples from other places – other cultures country to help child see what is possible
  • Meeting Street Academy works—need to build a community where everyone contributes – helps to better the community
  • Help kids be responsible for their own future
  • Help parents live out of poverty – focus on positive skill building
  • Schools need to be welcoming
  • Don’t use “poverty” word – it puts people in a box
  • Models that require a commitment in writing from the parent to be involved
  • Intervention of literacy – if only singular event – can have an effect, but is dissipates over time
  • 3-4k time frame – literacy and social needs sustained time
  • 1:1 want play, build literacy into a play experience
  • Make it interactive
  • Dolly Parton rep – part of the success is due to its reputation. Children look for the arrival of new books. Creating excitement from a very early age so not scared by it once they get to school
  • I—BEAM – the multi-year and 1on 1 interaction w/ a student is important from grade 2-5. Some want to follow their child into middle school.
  • Reading partners training vital and a part of its being a ‘bright spot’
  • One RP volunteers student wants her to continye into 4th She wants that too
  • The effectiveness of RP may also depend on the school and consistent leadership w/in the specific school. If the schools’ program is not effective, the school may need to be changed b/c the cost and desire of other schools to have the program
  • Having the same teacher pre-k-K can also have a huge impact
  • Positive feedback by caring adult important b/c it’s not always in their homes
  • Multiple systems that work together really well – PALS and Reading Recovery
  • Language training for staff and daycares and child development centers
  • Positive physical learning environment (school facilities themselves) can help
  • Getting age appropriate books for very young children
  • Early literacy is everything a child learns before they begin to read and write
  • Helpful for parents to narrate life out loud to kids (ex. talk about washing dishes as you wash the dishes)
  • Earliest interventions are most effective
  • Have students read back and retell stories
  • Listen to children read
  • Read in front of child
  • Send books home
  • Invite parents into things like “literacy nights” so have workshops
  • parental surveys
  • Need to get diverse ppl to the table like Dads, Retirees who are not traditionally there
    • emphasize the good things about education reform
  • Partnering with Adult Education programs
  • Parent University (Charleston and Berkeley Counties)
  • Using Parent Educators
  • Parenting Partners helps parents teach literacy skills
  • Develop a marketing campaign to show the benefits of literacy for parents
  • Augment the Head Start model to reach parents who are not part of Head Start and Early Head Start
  • Use Early Release Days to hold an Interactive Parenting Event for PreK and K students
  • Parent Nights
  • Include legislators in this conversation
  • Include student and partners on the panel and in the discussion
  • Put effort into helping get parents engaged
  • Grass roots level involvement
  • Parent activities on the weekend – use for opportunity to educate parents about ways to get involved
  • Open programs in the community – have the community generate ideas not tell them what has already been decided
  • Include parents in the conversation and decision making
  • Also include parents in the planning when making school changes
  • There is general distrust from parents – help to bridge that trust gap
  • It takes a village to raise a child – anyone who is interested or willing to be involved including all businesses
  • Communication – dissemination of information to community is important
  • Most parents will not know about Read to Success – need to let them know what will happen and how they can help their child
  • Need to let parents know through TV, Town Hall for Parents, Churches
  • Avoid parachuting solutions on parents
  • How do we partners work w/ parents, caregivers, teachers, for early childhood literacy
  • RP – Are we asking wrong questions when looking for vols? The faith-based influence is very strong in the communities. e. CAJM role model – gather together to ask their hopes and dreams for their children (in a safe place – context as well as right question)
  • How to get the general public, uninterested persons to care – the # or amount of $ it costs for a drop out
  • RP – one was recruited from a speaker presenting at her church
  • Important to feed the parents – poverty’s such an impact. Invisible in the lives of students of their family / social challenges/lifestyle.
  • Parents often work hours which make it impossible to participate
  • People in need – have to reach them where they are – where it is convenient for them
  • Many false starts – promises made and NOT upheld makes public wary
  • Unless there is an effective teacher in a classroom w/ an effective principal, no program added will be less effective
  • I said I didn’t know about RP – need more publicity and exposure to prospective volunteers
  • Need very strategic way to get volunteers exec. of RP
  • Transportation for summer enrichment is a challenge, so put programs in close physical proximity to kids’ homes
  • Make reading part of faith experiences (@ church)
  • Engage college students in afterschool programs b/c it’s not always reasonable to expect additional hours of teachers and b/c college students are more like peers and therefore kids are more apt to be comfortable interacting w/ them as non-authoritarian adults
  • Use “silver power” – New chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha at Del Webb retirement community wants to work at Cane Bay Elem. but can’t get into school
  • RP volunteer – moved here from CT but probably wouldn’t have if had known about the state of education in SC
  • RP recruits at Ashley Hall and Porter Gaud
  • Need more involvement from business community
  • Align standards to workforce needs and hold accountable to that
  • Host a business panel to talk to teachers, administrators and parents about what businesses need from graduates -> tell legislators and regulators to align to those standards
  • Expand upon the “profile of a graduate” and set clear expectations of the skills and abilities needed for the workforce
  • Get rotary volunteers / Rotary Readers; engage retirees and new residents
  • Support better volunteer coordination w/ non RP partners (too many unreturned calls, underutilized volunteers / skills, poor placement of volunteers, etc.)
  • Getting involved is difficult for many, b/c the school day = work day
  • Parents more involved at younger ages b/c they must take child into daycare center (no bus pick up or drop off)
  • Suggest Reading w/ Realtors meld into Reading Partners’ program at Burns
  • RP makes it easier on schools and teachers
  • If a child is identified for academic intervention, we should also assess them for social / emotional / mental health needs as well

Other Comments

  • Need to have a way to give parents child development training
  • Worried about what will happen under Read To Succeed to 3rd grade students who are held back, given that research shows this is not healthy for them
  • Need to reach out to legislators to keep funding for Education (don’t let them raid Education Budget to pay for Roads)
    • Need mandatory 4K
  • Need to ensure that we can measure the bright spots so we know what is working, why, and how we can replicate (if at all)
  • Need a Training Academy for volunteers who want to assist schools with academic needs to ensure that they are able and are actually focusing on a true need of the school (for the high level volunteer, like a retired teacher, etc.)