This summer I will support students for whom English is a second language, or not a language spoken at home, by reading with them one-on-one. My goal is to advance the children's mastery of the English language, and also to help them learn to love to read. If I meet or exceed my funding goal, I will be able to personally cultivate an understanding of how welcoming a place Chicago and our nation can be, and help them meet their full potential as new and young Americans. I'm calling it the Red Reed Club!
Red Reed Club supports literacy development in children from Rogers Park homes where English is not the primary language. (The name is a play on the two pronunciations of “read”—isn’t English silly?) The core of the program is one-on-one reading time with English-speaking educators. (For this pilot summer program, it's just me, Kate, and some hired support, but it's potentially a whole new organization.)
Immigrant families in this gloriously diverse neighborhood work hard and sacrifice to provide for their children’s futures. Yet they are often unable to provide one of the experiences that (research tells us) would give them the best leg up: one-on-one reading in English.
There’s nothing like supported, collaborative reading with a caring adult, and that’s what Red Reed Club provides. There’s a great deal of focus on pre-literacy and kindergarten readiness, particularly with the aim of targeting the achievement gap for less-advantaged students. But it is crucial to continue addressing the gap in the early primary-school years. It is often said that kindergarten through second grade are the years of “learning to read” so that by third grade (and beyond) students are “reading to learn”. Our goal is to help ESL kids successfully navigate this transition.
Each child in Red Reed Club is paired with an adult with whom he or she has an ongoing educational partnership. They get together once a week to read age-appropriate books in a safe, cozy and low-pressure environment. One of the goals of the program is that children develop a love of reading as a lifelong pleasure, not just a task or discipline. We believe, and the evidence supports, that reading builds character and empathy and broadens horizons to the world’s possibilities. As a result, it improves outcomes for individuals, families, communities, and our nation.
This Summer Red Reed Club will start with 20 children. Funds will be used to pay the staff—primarily me, Kate, a fair part-time wage. When the goal is met we will expand the work of Red Reed Club to include enrichment activities such as yoga, meditation, and improvisation classes.
If our goal is exceeded, we will include Field Trip Fridays. Our field trips will be local, sometimes educational and sometimes just pure fun. Fostering community is very important to Red Reed.
The children selected for this club not only having caring and hard working parents, but they themselves are determined to succeed, are kind at heart and ready to be part of this Rogers Park Neighborhood, Chicago and this country! Your donation could help set them not only on a path of excelling at school, but feeling accepted and worthwhile—a feeling we know can change lives.
Thank you for your time and your donation!
Much Love and Thanks,
- Ralph Larke
- Carmiña Endicott
- Charlene Bickford
- Patricia Pena
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