The Alliance for Literacy is a partnership between schools, libraries, local businesses and organizations working together to increase literacy in Santa Fe and get kids hooked on reading.
We are empowering students to take charge of their own education by increasing time spent reading through the use of contests, book exchanges and tutoring.
Students from Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences began this initiative which has expanded to include student leaders from each school they visit. There are middle and high school students from Capital High, Monte del Sol, ATC, New Mexico School for the Arts, Desert Academy, and Santa Fe Prep who are working on the "Youth United" steering committee and taking charge of this initiative. Students have named the campaign, created a slogan and logo, and are creating each part of the campaign. We want to empower kids to take charge of their own education and use positive peer pressure to get their friends reading.
Facts: Too many children in our community fail to learn to read proficiently in the early grades. If reading remains difficult, students do not read independently and lack the hours of practice needed for mastery. By fourth grade, students fall behind as they are required to read for meaning. 40-50% of Santa Fe public school students drop out before graduation and New Mexico is ranked 48th in the nation in literacy based on standardized test scores. 3,000 students drop out of school every day in America.
This project benefits students by getting them hooked on the excitement of reading.
A group of students from the Alliance spoke with the SFPS principals and librarians last week and received great support from the Superintendent, the librarians and all of the principals. Schools and PTAs are already planning book drives and are participating in the competitions.
Mayor Coss and the City of Santa Fe are committed to supporting this campaign in numerous ways and will soon make an official proclamation declaring the year 2012 as 'The Year of the Book.'
The program has three tiers of intervention:
Tier One has begun by getting kids to enthusiastically engage in their own learning. We will offer many student-designed competitions and prizes that will get their peers excited about reading (Kindles, bikes, laptops, meeting celebrities, etc...). The first 'Design the Campaign' contest is already underway and will award an iPad to the student who comes up with the best ways to get their friends hooked on reading. We will continue to have powerful incentives to get kids to take a break from their video games and TV's and to pick up a book. Surveys have confirmed that kids will read more if there is a compelling incentive.
Many teachers and parents have seen how motivated kids get during wrapping paper and chocolate sales when there are great prizes involved. We feel this can happen with reading.
Tier Two includes businesses and schools sponsoring free book swap shelves in community locations such as supermarkets, hospital waiting rooms, and places where families wait with their children. We have been collecting books and plan to have citywide book drives in December. A local nonprofit, Partners in Education, has offered their warehouse to collect the books. There are numerous benefits to advertising on these bookshelves. Santa Fe Public Schools donated 10 bookshelves to help get this part of the campaign started and we have begun contacting businesses who are interested in advertising on a bookshelf. We are also seeking businesses who are interested in becoming official sponsors for the campaign.
Tier Three will provide specialized tutoring for students with reading challenges. Students with serious reading difficulties will be referred by teachers for afterschool reading instruction and/or a summer intensive staffed by expert teachers. Students will become more proficient in reading and therefore, all subjects.
We are seeking funding for tutoring and prizes for the reading competitions. We hope that reading for fun will become contagious and "cool." This campaign will reach more than 37 schools in Santa Fe County, including The School for the Deaf, the Santa Fe Indian School and surrounding pueblo and non-public schools.
The Alliance for Literacy competed in the Albertson's Community Partner Challenge and gathered more than 27,000 votes from the community winning $10,000 which will enable us to buy prizes for the competitions.
Alliance for Literacy