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Literacy Coalition News
November/December 2017

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City of Syracuse continues support for Imagination Library!

We fondly remember back to 2014, when Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney both put money in their proposed budgets to expand our local Imagination Library program citywide. Miner proposed $50,000 to the effort, and Mahoney $120,000. The budgets were then respectively approved by the Syracuse Common Council and the Onondaga County Legislature. Learn more »

City of Syracuse Holiday SealAs Mayor Miner leaves office, we want to sincerely thank her for her leadership over the years and the support of Syracuse Common Council, especially Councilors Helen Hudson and Nader Maroun, for $50,000 in funding for Imagination Library in the City of Syracuse’s Budget for 2017-2018.

The collective impact of all their actions, coupled with the foresight of the Central New York Community Foundation to invest in early literacy and a growing list of community partners, led to our countywide expansion and has spurred a momentum that helped increase our Imagination Library enrollment from 1,654 children being mailed books monthly and 50,000 books distributed in April 2014; to over 14,000 enrolled this month and 380,000 books distributed, but we won’t stop there.

Help us put books in the hands of even more of our families. We want more children to enter school ready to learn to read, more children to enter 3rd grade on reading level, and more children graduating from high school. It all starts with a book. Learn more »

The “Power of Summer Learning” Summit

Power of Summer LearningSummer learning is an essential component of a student’s academic and developmental growth, particularly in high-poverty communities. Research shows that low-income youth lose two to three months in reading achievement each summer, while their higher income peers make gains. Most youth also lose about two months in math skills in the summer. Year after year, these losses add up, making it more difficult for communities to close the achievement gap.

While Syracuse and other cities have many high-quality summer programs, few communities have created a system of summer learning with the capacity to reach all students. Since Syracuse, in many ways, is starting with a blank slate on this issue, it creates a wonderful opportunity to build off the work of other communities to create a unique and innovative system that supports community efforts to improve student outcomes, with the potential to become a national model.

The Apter & O'Connor team helping us includes Cynthia O’Connor and Jeff Smink (speaking in photo). Jeff is the president of Cobbs Hill Consulting, based in Rochester, both are also consultants with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

As such, we’re pleased to announce that we recently held a "Power of Summer Learning" Kick-off Summit with an intent is to create a system of summer learning in our community. We’ll also be providing regular updates as we proceed. This will build upon our work as members of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and being named a Finalist for the 2017 All-America City Award for top honors in advancing early literacy. Learn more »

Helping Families Read, Learn & Grow

Central New York Community Foundation Fall 2017 News

Within the walls of Jamesville Correctional Facility, inmates participating in the Family Literacy Project are happily reading books to their children and helping them with learning activities they made themselves.

Based on successful national models, the program at Jamesville Correctional is aimed at increasing literacy rates of children with incarcerated parents. It is a joint effort between OCM-BOCES and Onondaga County Public Library, and is designed to teach inmates ways to help improve their children’s reading skills and engage in their schooling.

Amy Thorna, literacy coordinator at the Onondaga County Public Library, believes strides can be made in alleviating poverty by first addressing education and literacy. "Our community has pretty low literacy levels," she said. "It goes hand-in-hand with the poverty that exists." Learn more »

Best wishes to everyone for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season filled with your favorite stories too!

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