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Bartow Literacy Council receives state grant to fund reading projects

29 January 2018    Written by Donna Harris, Published in News, Cartersville Daily-Tribune

It may be called a “mini-grant,” but it will go a long way in improving literacy
in Bartow County.

The Bartow Literacy Council received an $18,400 grant from the Early Language and literacy Mini-Grant Program that it will use to implement three literacy projects through its Bartow County Reading Outreach Program over the next two years.

On Jan. 22, Gov. Nathan Deal announced grant awards to 48 projects as part of the mini-grant program, a collaborative effort between the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College that was launched last August.

“The Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant Program recognizes those leading the way in developing new, engaging programs to advance language and literacy skills for Georgia students,” Deal said in a press release. “These grants will provide communities with additional resources to put more students on track to read on grade-level by the third grade. The bright minds of Georgia’s students are the state’s most precious resource, and I commend the educators and community partners working to prepare them for future success.”

Bartow Literacy Council Chairwoman Valerie Gilreath said she was “excited” to receive the grant, which will help improve access to books for children ages 0-8 by funding a “Welcome to the World” book program that will give a children’s book to every mother who gives birth at Cartersville Medical Center in 2018 and 2019 as well as a summer reading program through the bookmobile and Little Libraries all across the county. “These funds will go a long way toward helping the Bartow Literacy Council achieve its goals for 2018 and 2019,” she said.

The overall goal of the council is to increase the number of Bartow County students who achieve reading proficiency by the end of third grade, Gilreath said. “Currently, only 34 percent of Bartow’s children meet this threshold,” she said. “We are working in conjunction with the local school systems to develop activities that support the work being done in the classroom. We hope to increase awareness among Bartow County families about the importance of reading early and often in the home, even before a child starts school.”

The Little Libraries will help the council achieve two of its priorities for 2018: increasing access to books, especially in the summer, and community engagement.

“During the school year, kids have access to their school library,” Gilreath said. “This is not usually the case during the summer. Our hope is that we can combat summer reading regression, also known as the ‘summer slide,’ by making books accessible even when school is out and encouraging children to continue reading throughout the summer.”

Between the grant and “some generous community partners,” the council is hoping to construct 25 to 30 Little Libraries that will be placed outside each elementary school in the county as well as other strategic locations, Gilreath said. “We are still in conversation about exactly where, but we’ll be looking at outdoor spaces where people congregate that are open to the public yearround,” she said, noting a number of them will be operational before the end of the school year. “We’ll work hard to see that they are dispersed throughout the county and municipalities.”

These “tiny libraries,” created in the “spirit of the Little Free Library movement,” will be freestanding, newspaper-box size structures with a rotating inventory of 25 to 50 books, Gilreath said.

“Families will just help themselves to books as they need,” she said. “It will be ‘take a book, leave a book,’ but it’s not a 1-to-1 ratio. You can take a book even if you don’t leave a book and vice versa. And families are invited to take as many books as they like as often as they like.” If any of the families would like to donate books to the library, “that will be welcome,” Gilreath said. “Because the libraries operate on the premise of ‘take a book, leave a book,’ children can contribute to the content of the libraries,” she said. “They can donate their books when they are finished with them and share their favorite
stories with others.”

The libraries will be stocked with books that are appropriate for ages 0-8, Gilreath said, but “each library will grow and change in accordance with the neighborhood around it.”

“As books change hands, books for older children and adults could be featured in the library,” she said. “If a company, group or organization sponsors a library, they will be able to add content for other age groups. It’s intended to be an organic process. However, the literacy council, in partnership with the bookmobile, will continually monitor each library to ensure that it remains stocked with books for the 0-8 age range because that
is our priority.”

Each project that is awarded a grant is a joint effort between at least two community-based partners that focuses on one of the four pillars of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign — language nutrition, access, positive learning climate and teacher preparation and effectiveness — and individual partners receive between $5,000 and $20,000 to support their roles, according to the governor’s office press release. The community partnerships include child care centers, public and private pre-K programs, primary grades of elementary schools, local service agencies and local nonprofit organizations.

Gilreath said the council wants to involve as many people as possible in the Little Libraries project and will be reaching out to school groups, Beta clubs, civic groups, Scout troops and other organizations “for input and volunteers.” Anyone who wants to help should email the council at bartowliteracycouncil@gmail.com.

Spring Fundraiser – Farm to Table Dinner, April 28th, 2018

The Bartow Literacy Council will be holding a Spring fundraiser in partnership with The Bookmobile – Reading to go places! The event will be a Farm to Table Dinner held on April 28th.  Thank you to the sponsors who are so generously supporting this event! More information to come soon.

Presenting sponsor:

Scholastic sponsors:

  

  

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Bartow Literacy Council is awarded Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant

 

Deal announces Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant award winners

January 22, 2018

Governor Nathan Deal today announced grant awards to 48 projects as part of the Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant Program, a collaborative effort between the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College.

“The Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant Program recognizes those leading the way in developing new, engaging programs to advance language and literacy skills for Georgia students,” said Deal. “These grants will provide communities with additional resources to put more students on track to read on grade-level by the third grade. The bright minds of Georgia’s students are the state’s most precious resource and I commend the educators and community partners working to prepare them for future success.”

The Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant Program invests in strategic community partnerships that target language and literacy development needs for children from birth to age eight. Each awarded project is a collaborative effort between at least two community-based partners that focuses on one of the four pillars of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign: language nutrition, access, positive learning climate, and teacher preparation and effectiveness. These community partnerships include child care centers, public and private pre-K programs, primary grades of elementary schools, local service agencies and local nonprofit organizations.

Individual partners within an approved grant project will receive between $5,000 and $20,000 to support their roles in the partnership.

A list of winning project summaries is attached.

Early Literacy Mini Grant Summaries_FINAL_01242018

Georgia State Superintendent of School, Richard Woods, stresses importance of reading to education in Chamber address

Georgia State Superintendent of Schools, Richard Woods, stressed the importance of reading and early literacy this morning at the Cartersville-Bartow Chamber Government Affairs meeting. He emphasized that reading is an integral part of educational success at every level and is a priority for the Georgia Department of Education. A special thank you to Chamber CEO Cindy Williams for pointing out the work that the Bartow Literacy Council is doing in Bartow County to support these goals.

Bartow Literacy Council participates in Bartow Give a Kid a Chance 2017

IMG_2997

photo credit KIM DENNIS

The Bartow Literacy Council staffed resource tables at both the Cartersville and Acworth locations of Bartow Give a Kid a Chance 2017. Thank you to the members of the Cartersville Woman’s Club for volunteering at both sites. We registered approximately 40 children for the Imagination Library program and raised awareness of the program among many others. Thank you to the Bartow Collaborative and other community partners for allowing us to be a part of such an amazing event.

http://www.daily-tribune.com/newsx/item/8516-bartow-give-a-kid-a-chance-serves-about-2-000-youth

The price of not addressing early literacy

1. Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out. 2. Of adults with the lowest literacy levels, 43 percent live in […]

via 4 Literacy Facts — Viking Reviews

The Bartow Literacy Council is awarded a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia

http://www.daily-tribune.com/newsx/item/8260-bartow-county-literacy-efforts-bolstered-by-grants

Photo by RANDY PARKER/DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS

“Bartow Literacy Efforts Bolstered by Grants

by Marie Nesmith

Through a pair of Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation grants, the Bartow Literacy Council’s Imagination Library program and the South Bartow Bookmobile Project have received needed, impactful funding for their literacy efforts.

For its spring cycle, the foundation awarded 14 area nonprofits a total of $19,250 in grants, among which $1,500 and $2,000 grants were presented to the Bartow Literacy Council and South Bartow Bookmobile Project, respectively.

“I was excited and grateful,” said Valerie Gilreath, chairwoman of the Bartow Literacy Council and the founder/director of the South Bartow Bookmobile Project. “These are both young programs, and these funds will make a big impact on our ability to reach our target population. Plus, it felt good to know that the board of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia saw enough value in what we are trying to do to support it. It was validating.”

With the Rotary Club of Bartow County’s assistance, the Bartow Literacy Council is striving to provide a direct-mail book every month to participating children up to age 5. Established in December 2016, the group’s goal is to enroll 1,000 students in the Imagination Library this year.

Also promoting literacy, the bookmobile project will give residents of all ages in south Bartow access to books, and in the future Internet and computer usage.

“For the Bartow Literacy Council/Imagination Library program, the benefits are twofold,” Gilreath said. “Part of the money will be used to provide books to children enrolled in the program. Another portion of the grant will be used to create printed materials for outreach to the target population and to raise awareness about the program and the literacy issue in general in Bartow County.

“For the South Bartow Bookmobile Project, the funds will go toward vehicle acquisition for the bookmobile itself. Up until now, we’ve had an inventory of books, and we’ve been planning for how the program will operate, but there can’t be a program without the vehicle itself. The grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, in conjunction with another grant from Bartow County United Way, allowed us to seriously shop for a vehicle appropriate for our needs. We’ve actually found one with the help of a dealership in Rome, Georgia — Sherold Salmon Auto Superstore — and they are holding it for us until we can pick it up next week. So, in many ways, this grant was the spark that took the project from planning to implementation.”

In referencing statistics from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count report, Gilreath underscores the importance of bolstering literacy among Bartow’s youth.

“Both programs are focused on increasing literacy rates in Bartow County,” Gilreath said. “We hope to do this by raising awareness of how important childhood literacy is and by providing access to books. There is a particular emphasis on ensuring that a child is reading proficiently by the end of the third grade. This has been shown to be a crucial juncture in a student’s academic development. The end of the third grade is when a student stops learning to read and begins reading to learn. The inability to read well at this point will cause a child to struggle to comprehend other subjects, such as history, science and math.

“Children who can’t read by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count report, which is published annually, only 34 percent of Bartow County’s children read proficiently by the end of third grade. Both programs also emphasize reaching low-income populations, though they are open to all income levels. Data shows that struggles with literacy are compounded among low-income populations.”

For Gilreath, improving childhood literacy is an effort that is close to her heart.

“I’m passionate about this cause, because I’ve seen all of this firsthand: the positive power of reading and literacy and the negative consequences of illiteracy,” Gilreath said. “Neither of my parents graduated high school, nor did many of their siblings. A parent’s educational attainment is one of the most accurate predictors of a child’s educational attainment, so odds were against my graduating high school. However, my parents understood the importance of reading to me and talking to me. They knew that I would need skills that they didn’t have in order to be successful, and they made sure that I had the opportunity to learn those skills.

“I believe strongly that this contributed to my academic success. The love of reading that they instilled in me improved my vocabulary, my spelling, my grammar, as well as allowing me to read and learn about things that I could not experience firsthand, such as far off places and cultures. This gave me the base I needed to excel, to cope socially and economically in this world.”

She continued, “Some of my cousins were not so fortunate. They did not receive the same early involvement. They were those low-income children who heard 30 million fewer words within the first three years of their life, and they followed the statistically likely trajectory. They dropped out of school; they struggle to maintain employment; they live hand-to-mouth. Now they have adult children whose lives mirror their own. Another generation that has dropped out of school, and who do not have any marketable skills to go out and make a living wage. Those adult children are having children now. I look at their toddlers, and the path before them is all too clear unless we can somehow intervene.”

Along with the two literacy efforts, the other 12 organizations receiving grants from the Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation are: Allatoona Resources Center Inc., $1,500 grant for emergency food assistance program; Bartow Collaborative, a $2,000 grant for Bartow Give a Kid a Chance; Bartow Education Foundation, $1,000 grant for teacher grant program; Bartow History Museum, $1,000 grant for traveling exhibition, “Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America;” Georgia Highlands African-American and Minority Male Excellence, $1,000 grant for a tutor; Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, $1,500 grant for mattresses for its Transitional Housing Program’s bunk beds; Hands of Christ Afterschool Program, $1,000 grant for technology products in fourth and fifth grade classrooms; Hickory Log Vocational School, $2,000 grant for commercial grade cleaning supplies; League for Animal Welfare, $1,000 grant to help cover complimentary sterilization surgeries for female cats and dogs in south Bartow; Boy Scouts, $750 grant for camp scholarships; Project SEARCH Cartersville, $1,000 grant for promotional video; and YMCA Camp High Harbor, a $1,000 grant for scholarships for Bartow’s youth.

“We’re proud to be part of so many great projects in the community,” stated Trey Jordan — chairman of the Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia — in a news release. “Our grants have helped fund projects to help shelter homeless individuals, provide life-skills training, mentor our youth, preserve history and so much more. These projects add value to our community and contribute to the quality of life of everyone who lives or works here in Bartow County.”

For more information about the foundation, visit www.CommunityFoundationNWGA.org or call David Aft at 706-275-9117. Further details about the Bartow Literacy Council’s Imagination Library program and the South Bartow Bookmobile Project can be obtained online at www.facebook.com/bartowliteracycouncil and www.facebook.com/bartowbookmobile, respectively, and by contacting Gilreath at gilreathv@bartowga.org or 770-607-1102.”

Get Georgia Reading

The Problem

Two-thirds of Georgia’s children are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade. This has significant and long-term consequences for all Georgians, because low achievement in reading affects our economy, our safety, and our health.

The end of third grade marks the critical time when children shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Children unable to make this shift face serious barriers for future learning, because they can’t grasp half of the printed fourth-grade curriculum and beyond, including math and science. As a result, these children fall even further behind.

Children who can’t read proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to experience poor health, have discipline problems, become teen parents, and drop out of high school. As adults, they’re more likely to spend time in prison, struggle with unemployment, and face shorter life expectancies.

Georgia has struggled for years to improve our reading proficiency rate. The cost to our state is significant, and the cost to our children is incalculable. Everyone agreed—we needed a new approach.

Unwilling to yield any longer, the governor and first lady came together with Georgia’s leaders in 2013 to take on third-grade reading proficiency—not only as an education issue, but as an urgent priority for all who care about children’s health and well-being.