Links to Literacy

Vectren Books AliveThe achievement gap between economically disadvantaged and more affluent children starts early. On average, more affluent kindergarteners have academic achievement scores that are upwards of 60% higher than kindergarteners who are economically disadvantaged. Research has shown that children who read at grade level by the third grade are more likely to graduate from high school.

The “Links to Literacy” Umbrella Program was launched at Wogaman PK-8 School four years ago in an effort to improve the academic aptitude and success of the students who attend Wogaman. Wogaman is one of 22 elementary schools in the Dayton Public School System. The school is located in an area in the Dayton community that has been significantly impacted by the economic crisis. Wogaman has an enrollment of 474 students of which 96.5% are African American. 100% of the student population has been identified as economically disadvantaged. Of the 22 schools, Wogaman ranks last in its effort to improve student achievement.

Research has also shown that the most effective educational institutions are those which offer community programs, and indeed, view themselves as community schools. Community school programs support and enhance the regular curriculum and expose students to cultural, recreational and educational activities they might not otherwise experience. High quality community school programs in conjunction with family support can have dramatic long-term effects on the student’s academic and social development.

The partnership between the Dayton(OH) Chapter of The Links and Wogaman Elementary has provided the students and the community needed social and financial resources to provide the “extras” for students and families. The students benefit from the cultural awareness and educational opportunities the “Links to Literacy” program brings into their lives. Thus, through this high quality experience, we begin to mitigate the negative effects of being economically disadvantaged.

Through the coordinated efforts of our Chapter, we have been able to support Wogaman’s curricular goals by providing meaningful programs and extra-curricular activities through “Links to Literacy”. The chapter selected Wogaman School to align our literacy projects to reach students in grades Kindergarten to grade three earlier providing a variety of resources to prepare them for school readiness. Narrowing the achievement gap will take unprecedented collaboration amongst all stakeholders.

Project Ready to Read, Ready to Learn offers literacy TOOLS for classroom educators to increase reading fluency and reading comprehension skills by the end of grade three. We are funded through a literacy grant provided by Vectren. Our partnership has the potential to serve the needs of 240 students in Kindergarten through grade three with an emphasis on literacy to assist in creating multiple opportunities for the learner to engage in integrated activities that heighten and engage each of the five senses. We will enhance the school’s efforts to narrow the achievement gap and assist Wogaman in reaching the district’s goal of 80% of its students being proficient in reading by the third grade.