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Literacy Coalition News
September/October 2017


Onondaga County steps up support for Imagination Library!

Since we announced the countywide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in March of last year, our enrollment has skyrocketed from 4,500 to over 14,000 little ones receiving books each month and exceeded our budget projections. We’re also averaging close to 500 new enrollees monthly. As proven evidence suggests, these children are being exposed to rich literacy experiences are better prepared to enter school ready to learn and succeed in life.

Now, thanks to the leadership of Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and the Onondaga County Legislature, especially Chairman Ryan McMahon and Floor Leader, Patrick Kilmartin, support for our local Imagination Library program was increased in the recently approved Onondaga County Budget for 2018.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "We invested in childhood literacy as a top priority of my administration. Recognition of our commitment as an "All-American City" finalist is an honor and something our community can be very proud of."

Learn more about the County’s 2018 budget »

Somali Refugee Wins Adult Learner Excellence Award

Hussein Yerow (left) receiving the Ruth J. Colvin and Frank C. Laubach Award for Adult Learner Excellence from Kevin Morgan, President and CEO of ProLiteracy, at their conference in Minnesota.

Hussein Yarrow spoke no English when he resettled to the U.S. from a refugee camp in Kenya at age 19. Once here, he enrolled in adult education classes at the North Side Learning Center, in Syracuse, NY, and started working towards his goal of obtaining his high school equivalency diploma and attending college.

He has overcome many obstacles that would have deterred others. Hussein has earned the respect and admiration of those who have gotten to know him. He stands out due to his commitment to lifelong learning, his reserved and quiet leadership, and dedication to the community.

Learn more about Hussein’s remarkable life »

Back to School Issue: Reading’s New Tools

By Reid Sullivan, Editor in Chief, FAMILY TIMES (September 2017)

Teaching reading has changed. As Verona kindergarten teacher Christine Amodie says, “We start sight words before (kindergartners) even have letter recognition or sound recognition.”

Students are reading harder books, earlier, and their teachers are using lots of strategies to help them become fluent readers and writers. Find out more in the story on page 20 by Tammy DiDomenico, “Reading’s New Tools: Early-elementary teachers use books, tablets, tests and more.”

Excerpts from the end of this article:

It’s best if children learn crucial language skills before they even start school, The Early Childhood Alliance, launched in 2015 as the result of an Onondaga Citizens League study, is working to foster that. “When children come to kindergarten behind, they often stay behind because there is a language gap to begin with,” says Laurie Black, executive director.

Earlier this year, the Early Childhood Alliance launched Too Small to Fail’s national Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing campaign in Onondaga County. The campaign offers parents tips for talking with their children in ways that can inspire real learning.

Black encourages families to register their children in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It’s free for Onondaga County residents from birth to age 5, and participants get a book a month. (Visit onliteracy.org/enroll-a-child/.) Black says getting appropriate materials in the hands of parents to help their struggling readers practice at home is important.

“Once a struggling reader starts not wanting to read because it is hard work, they start not wanting to do it at all,” Black says. “I believe in my heart of hearts that schools will do well with all kids if they can come ready to learn.”

Read the full article »

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