WAWS Spotlight: Rose Gonzalez

 An image of Rose Gonzalez holding her award in front of a Words Alive backdrop.

An image of Rose Gonzalez holding her award in front of a Words Alive backdrop.

Rose Gonzalez is a fourth-time recipient of the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship. She graduated from Monarch School and now attends San Diego State University where she is majoring in Criminal Justice.

The Words Alive Westreich Scholarship Program awards scholarships to participants in the Words Alive Adolescent Book Group to support them in their pursuit of higher education at the college or vocational level. Unlike other scholarship programs, which typically fund only tuition, books and educational supplies, each recipient is eligible to receive funds to cover the cost of rent, food, childcare, clothing, travel and other living expenses. Additionally, the program matches each recipient with a mentor. Student and mentor meet regularly throughout the school year, and the mentors provide guidance, direction, and often, a shoulder to lean on.

 An image of Jessica Fryman, Teen Services Program Manager, standing with Rose Gonzalez at the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship Ceremony.

An image of Jessica Fryman, Teen Services Program Manager, standing with Rose Gonzalez at the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship Ceremony.

Let's hear more from Rose!

Name: Rose Gonzalez

Age: 21

College: San Diego State University

Area of Study: Criminal Justice

High School: Monarch School

Mentor: Bernadette Delaney

How did you first get involved with Words Alive?

I was in the Adolescent Book Group in high school while I was at Monarch School.

How has your experience with Words Alive affected you?

My experience with Words Alive has affected me greatly. They have been an amazing support with school and my personal life.

What have you accomplished this year that you are most proud of?

Getting an A in my stats class and receiving two scholarships.

Tell us about your favorite college memory.

Making new friends and becoming a part of Guardian Scholars.

What are you reading lately?

Memoirs.

Learning English as a Second Language

 An image of four students in one of our Read Aloud Program sessions looking through a book together.

An image of four students in one of our Read Aloud Program sessions looking through a book together.

In 2015, there were 4.8 million students, or 9.5%, of students in the United States public school system reported as English language learners. This means they are people who are going through school learning English in addition to their native language, often times without any additional support other than immersion. This statistic from the the National Center for Education Statistics has increased by over 25% since 2000. Furthermore, California has the highest percentage of English language learners, at 21% of students in public schools -- this is more than double the countrywide average.

These English Second Language (ESL) learners have their own individual sets of challenges, beyond those that monolingual students face. In an article on EverythingESL.net, Judie Haynes, an ESL teacher with more than 28 years of experience and several publications, discusses the various challenges she has seen bilingual students face in literary environments. A main challenge she referenced is the fact that literature is culture bound, meaning that there is a certain set of stories and literary genres that English speakers are expected to know from an early age. These stories are then built upon in later learning, leaving those that were born into a different culture lacking the background knowledge to understand the author’s intent. Some other challenges that can also be overlooked for ESL students is understanding our metaphors, idioms, and other forms of figurative language, that also tend to be culture bound. Beyond that, word order, syntax, and sentence structure differ in English compared to other languages.

ESL students also experience some amazing benefits to being bilingual. Not only is this a plus for future employment opportunities, but school-age children have a different mindset about learning language in general. In an article published for Lamar University about the benefits of ESL, the following cognitive tasks, among others, were cited to be easier for bilingual students: developing strong thinking skills, using logic, focusing, memory, and making decisions. The article also discussed that these students utilize a blocking technique to focus on choosing words from one language while blocking the matching word from the other language. This same blocking technique is employed to ignore distracting information, allowing them to have a stronger focus. This can also be translated into social situations, allowing bilingual students to block out what they already know and instead focus on two different dissenting perspectives to have a better understanding of an overall issue.

As a Southern California based non-profit, many of Words Alive’s participants have learned English as their second language. We work with these students to ensure that they are able to further their critical thinking and literary analysis skills while using their personal experiences to help relate to the books and deepen their understanding of the text.

If you are interested in funding or volunteering for our hands-on literacy programs, visit our website here for more details on our upcoming Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser!

Sources:

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=96

https://degree.lamar.edu/articles/education/the-benefits-of-esl.aspx

http://www.everythingesl.net/inservices/challenges_ells_content_area_l_65322.php



WAWS Spotlight: Paulina Aguilar-Lino

 An image of Paulina Aguilar-Lino holding her award in front of a Words Alive backdrop.

An image of Paulina Aguilar-Lino holding her award in front of a Words Alive backdrop.

The 2018-2019 program year is about to kick off and throughout the year we're going to be highlighting some of the truly incredible young people we have the pleasure to work with through our programs! To start, get excited to meet our Words Alive Westreich Scholarship recipients!

The Words Alive Westreich Scholarship Program awards scholarships to participants in the Words Alive Adolescent Book Group to support them in their pursuit of higher education at the college or vocational level. Unlike other scholarship programs, which typically fund only tuition, books and educational supplies, each recipient is eligible to receive funds to cover the cost of rent, food, childcare, clothing, travel and other living expenses. Additionally, the program matches each recipient with a mentor. Student and mentor meet regularly throughout the school year, and the mentors provide guidance, direction, and often, a shoulder to lean on.

 An image of Paulina hugging, Annette Ruiz, who presented her award at the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship ceremony.

An image of Paulina hugging, Annette Ruiz, who presented her award at the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship ceremony.

Let's hear more from one of our new scholars, Paulina!

Name: Paulina Aguilar-Lino

Age: 22

College: Southwestern College

Area of Study: Recording Arts & Technology

High School: Lindsay Community College

Mentor: Allison Keltner

Paulina Aguilar-Lino is a first-time WAWS recipient. She graduated from Lindsay Community School and is currently enrolled at Southwestern College. She will soon receive her Associates Degree in Recording Arts & Technology and dreams of creating her own audio entertainment company. She is also working to mentor other young mothers and encouraging them to continue their education.

How did you first get involved with Words Alive?

I was attending Lindsay Community School and Words Alive inspired us to read and this year, Itzel Vega (a former WAWS recipient), told me about the scholarship and advised me to apply.

How has your experience with Words Alive affected you?

My experience with Words Alive has inspired me to become the best version of myself by reminding me that I am not alone in my journey to accomplish my dreams. Words Alive gives me hope and pride in my efforts.

What have you accomplished this year that you are most proud of?

This year I have accomplished two things that I worked hard to achieve. I am receiving this scholarship from WAWS and am to receive a scholarship from Street of Dreams and help mentor other young teenage mothers to continue their education.

Tell us about your favorite college memory.

My favorite college memory is when I took my first music business class and I realized this is exactly what I belong doing. I realized it is a difficult journey and not many understand my goals but I believe in myself and my teachers and counselors support me and I feel very encouraged.

What are you reading lately?

I am reading a book about the constructs of reality.

Sponsor Highlight: Rancho Valencia

 An image of the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa logo.

An image of the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa logo.

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons including book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year with high-quality literacy programs.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a prosperous community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is a luxury hotel in San Diego and is the Marketplace Sponsor for our 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser! Marketplace Sponsors not only receive recognition at the event on all raffle or silent auction materials, but have the unique opportunity to announce raffle winners.

The award-winning Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa opened in 1989 and has an impressive reputation as one of the West’s most sought-after five star resorts. This Mediterranean-inspired all-suite property is tucked away in 45 acres of lush gardens and olive groves near Del Mar, California. It features guest casitas with private patios, two restaurants and a bar, a meeting space, The Spa with rejuvenating treatments, a fitness center with well-oriented programs, and a champion tennis program. Rancho Valencia has been selected by Forbes Travel Guide as one of the finest five-star hotel and spas in the world and has won the AAA Five Diamond award, both for five consecutive years. Additionally, this paradise has ranked as the #1 resort in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2015 and was listed on Condé Nast Traveler's 2016 Reader's Choice Awards List.

Thank you Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa for your help with this event and for recognizing the importance of literacy! With your support, Words Alive is able to provide high-quality literacy programming for students and families in San Diego communities.

Interested in availability for our sponsorship opportunities? If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Our Community Supporters!

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

We are so thankful to our Community Supporters for donating to make this event successful. The money raised at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser helps keep our programs running throughout the year, and through our programs we are able to deliver 3,714 literacy program sessions to students and families throughout San Diego.

Hear more about our Community Supporters:

Christopher Weil & Company

 An image of the Christopher Weil & Co. logo, featuring the tagline: "Investors - Managers - Advisors."

An image of the Christopher Weil & Co. logo, featuring the tagline: "Investors - Managers - Advisors."

Christopher Weil & Company, Inc. (CWC) is an investment service company that has focused on treating their clients like family for nearly 30 years. As part of their company principles and emphasis on client experience, they co-invest alongside their clients in all investments that they recommend. CWC partners with several causes to promote communities that flourish and develop. Christopher Weil & Company, Inc. is proud to partner with Words Alive as a Community Supporter and a return sponsor.  Words Alive’s mission is to open opportunities for life success by inspiring a commitment to reading, and they continue to make strides to help children and families become more literate and experience the joy and power of reading. CWC believes communities are made stronger and healthier when businesses collaborate with and support their local non-profit organizations, and they are pleased to be a Words Alive sponsor for this year’s Author’s Luncheon.

Filice Insurance

 An image of the Filice logo, featuring the tagline: "benefits consulting."

An image of the Filice logo, featuring the tagline: "benefits consulting."

Filice Insurance is a privately owned full service accounting firm that has been providing insurance solutions for nearly 30 years. Filice Insurance knows that companies of varying sizes and industries require different services in order to continue to grow, a service they are quick to provide. As one of the largest independent employee benefits and insurance consulting firms in California, they emphasize involvement in major insurance and human resource organizations in order to fully understand the environment of which their clients operate in. This involvement also extends to their time within the communities they operate in through volunteerism and direct financial support. As a first time sponsor of Words Alive, we are proud to include them in the event and look forward to working with them more in the future.

Pacific Coast Grill & Belly Up Tavern

 An image of the Pacific Coast Grill logo.

An image of the Pacific Coast Grill logo.

We are delighted to have Pacific Coast Grill and Belly Up Tavern as a returning sponsor for the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser. As an oceanfront restaurant in Southern California, Pacific Coast Grill is a destination for seafood and sunsets in Cardiff, California. Since 1995, the restaurant has used fresh, local, and free range ingredients to provide quality dishes. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Pacific Coast Grill offers a private reef room for parties as well, with the perfect view to watch surfers and waves.

 An image of the Belly Up logo, with the added line indicating they were established in 1974!

An image of the Belly Up logo, with the added line indicating they were established in 1974!

Belly Up Tavern is also a returning sponsor for our Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser. A famous venue in Solana Beach, California, they feature artists of all genres including alternative rock, indie rock, rock, reggae, hip-hop, jazz, blues, latin, and more. They have had stars such as the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and the Foo Fighters play at their venue as well as several local bands. With an event nearly every night, the Belly Up Tavern is a staple Southern California locale.

Edward Jones

 An image of the Edward Jones logo.

An image of the Edward Jones logo.

Edward Jones is a company with 16,000 employees focused on giving investing advice and guidance that is tailored to the individual client. The values and culture they have built within the company has earned them a number of awards for the experience they deliver to their clients as well as the experience of their employees. Edward Jones recognizes the importance of commitment to the community. With a long list of causes they support as a company, they also know that it’s important for the employees to get involved, with many serving on local boards, as Chamber of Commerce presidents, and professional organization members in addition to the companywide food, toy, and blanket drives. We welcome Edward Jones into sponsoring Words Alive at the 2018 Author’s Luncheon.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

What is Student-Led Education?

By Jennifer Van Pelt

What is Student-Led Education?

 Teachers from the school site 37ECB stand in front of posters about facilitation tips that the students created together. Their semester culminated in a project in which the students were in charge of facilitating discussions.

Teachers from the school site 37ECB stand in front of posters about facilitation tips that the students created together. Their semester culminated in a project in which the students were in charge of facilitating discussions.

In the 21st century, we have access to millions of pieces of information in less than a second. This shift in immediate availability of information changes not only how the workforce operates, but also how we prepare students to enter the workforce. One of the ways in which some districts and schools are addressing this is to place less emphasis on the traditional teacher-to-student lectures and instead focus more on building skill sets of students that allow them to succeed in the demands of a technologically-savvy workforce.

By changing the focus from the typical teacher-to-student led classrooms, and instead focusing on empowering students to discover their own hurdles, find their own answers, and teach others their findings, students are being taught important life-long skills. In a publication by eSchool News that focuses on how to make the shift to student-led learning, the top 10 skills that are needed in 2020 as identified by the World Economic Forum were listed, including complex problem solving, people management, negotiation, and critical thinking, among others. However, these skills cannot be taught from a teacher, they need to be observed, practiced, and given feedback. The ability to learn from peers and find resources is the key difference in student-led education versus traditional teaching formats.

What are the Benefits and Challenges of Student Led Education?

 Image of former ABG student, Daimeon, facilitating a book discussion with current ABG students at La Mesa Community School.

Image of former ABG student, Daimeon, facilitating a book discussion with current ABG students at La Mesa Community School.

There are multiple reasons why more of an emphasis is being placed on student-led education. As discussed in an article on teachaway.com that outlines the benefits of student-led learning, when students take the lead in teaching, they focus on ideas that interest them more, which paves the way for a deeper understanding and more enjoyment and fulfillment from the topic. Students also tend to relate to their classmates more, meaning they may pay more attention and even understand them better than they might a teacher. In this teachaway article, a pilot study from a university was cited in which students were given autonomy on how to structure the classes themselves in an effort to increase class attendance and exam performance. Student involvement and class attendance increased, which in turn improved the grades of the students in the pilot study. Similar teaching styles are being implemented across the world and to students of all ages to empower them to take more control over the learning process.

In the workforce, teachers are not readily available to answer questions and lead employees to the right resources. It is up to employees to find resources themselves from peers or online. Allowing this skill to develop while also enabling students to discover what interests them is becoming more important, as more schools shift to this methodology of teaching.

The Words Alive Adolescent Book Group includes book discussions, activities, and projects that are often times led by the student participants. This allows them to get comfortable speaking in front of others and encourages more involvement amongst their peers. If you are interested in funding these student-focused literacy programs, visit our website here for more details on our upcoming Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser!

Sources:

https://www.teachaway.com/blog/benefits-student-led-learning-international-schools

http://foggs.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Making-the-shift-to-student-led-learning-white-paper.pdf

Sponsor Highlight: Moss Adams

Moss Adams.PNG

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

Moss Adams is one of the largest public accounting firms in the U.S., a spot they have earned through 105 years of offering accounting, consulting, and wealth management services. The company has earned several firmwide awards including three for being an exceptional workplace for women. Forbes also named them as one of the best midsize employers in 2017, as a company that makes their employees feel happy, inspired and well-compensated. Lastly, they have won six diversity awards in the last seven years.

Moss Adams also ensures they are making a difference in the world today. They do this by having commitment to their people, investing in their communities, and minimizing their environmental impact. The company and its employees volunteer in the community, serve on boards and make charitable donations to help build up the communities around them. Moss Adams has an extensive understanding of the issues foundations, their donors, and their for-profit entities often grapple with as well as the opportunities available to solve those issues. San Diego is just one of the several communities they have supported. Moss Adams will receive recognition on all wine bottles and champagne available in the Marketplace at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser.

As the Beverage Sponsor, Moss Adams is helping Words Alive provide high-quality literacy programs to thousands of students and families in San Diego during the next school year.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

Sponsor Highlight: Gurtin Municipal Bond Management

By Jennifer Van Pelt

 An image of the Gurtin Municipal Bond Management logo.

An image of the Gurtin Municipal Bond Management logo.

Words Alive's signature fundraising event is the Annual Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser. Celebrating its 15th year, the Author's Luncheon has featured world renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and Isabel Allende.

Taking place each fall, the Author's Luncheon is attended by over 600 patrons that include book lovers, philanthropists, educators, civic organizations, and people invested in creating a more literate and thriving San Diego. This intellectual, elegant, and fast-paced fundraising event helps Words Alive raise over $200,000 annually, funds that make up a considerable portion of what Words Alive needs to continue serving thousands of children and families each year.

This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, the generous people, companies, and organizations who know how important literacy is for a successful and thriving community, and support our mission of opening opportunities of life success by inspiring a commitment to reading.

 An image of two people shaking hands in the Gurtin Munucipal Bond Management offices.

An image of two people shaking hands in the Gurtin Munucipal Bond Management offices.

Gurtin Municipal Bond Management is an investment management firm committed to making their investors and their advisors feel more comfortable with their investments and financial future. The firm focuses on diversity and employing the best people, in part by including recruitment in schools from underserved areas. Being a company that places such emphasis on diversity, we are proud to have them as a sponsor in helping us provide literacy education to prepare students for higher education and career placements.

As a return sponsor for Words Alive, Gurtin Municipal Bond Management’s philanthropic funds go towards improving San Diego communities through causes such as education, culture development, and youth development. The San Diego based company believes, “teach a child to read, educate them for a lifetime”.

Gurtin Municipal Bond Management recognizes Words Alive in their efforts to promote literacy and a joy of reading. Gurtin is excited to partner with Words Alive to provide students from K through 12+ with this essential skill set for their future. As an Impact Sponsor, Gurtin not only has the opportunity to introduce the moderator or MC at the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser and be recognized on our Words Alive bookmarks, but they are also contributing to Words Alive’s commitment to provide high-quality literacy programs to thousands of students and families in San Diego.

We have many sponsorship opportunities still available! If you, or the company you work for, believes in the importance of literacy and is interested in helping Words Alive foster a more literate community, check out sponsorship details here. We have benefits available from social media promotion, to recognition on centerpieces, to the opportunity to announce our featured author, Mary Kubica, at the event!

The History of Storytelling

By Jennifer Van Pelt

“Stories are our primary tools of learning and teaching, the repositories of our lore and legends. They bring order into our confusing world. Think about how many times a day you use stories to pass along data, insights, memories or common-sense advice.”

This quote by Edward Miller sourced by The Storyteller Agency encompasses how important storytelling has been and continues to be in every person’s life. Stories are what we grew up hearing, teaching us between right and wrong. We came running home from school, eager to tell our parents stories about our day. As we grow up, it’s a way to express ourselves through courses and college entrance exams, how we sell ourselves to potential employers. As an adult, the art of storytelling is a necessary skill in many careers to sell products to future customers or to let others learn from our mistakes. The stories we were told as children that stuck with us our entire lives will continue to be passed down for generations, serving the same benefit as it did for us. As we think about how prevalent stories are in our lives, let’s walk through the history of storytelling, from ancient history to present day.

Early Beginnings of Storytelling

 An image from the Chauvet Cave, depicting multiple rhinos.

An image from the Chauvet Cave, depicting multiple rhinos.

In a Princeton Publication titled “The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre” by Jack Zipes, he stated that humans have been telling stories since we had the ability to speak, and potentially by forms of sign language even before that. Though these stories tended to mark an occasion, set an example, or warn about danger, they also sought to explain the inexplicable through forms of fairy tales or tall tales. Though to date, we do not have any recordings of these original stories, we have discovered proof of visual representations of stories from our late ancestors. The Chauvet cave in France is the oldest representation of storytelling found thus far, dating to 36,000 years ago. The cave paintings are believed to tell the story of a volcanic eruption, according to an article published on News.Artnet.com. Later forms of visual storytelling can be found in Egyptian hieroglyphics from around 3,000 B.C., which mixed pictographic symbols and sounds in order to tell a story. In “The Evolution of Storytelling” on reporter.rit.edu, it is mentioned that these stories were for religious documentation and to give messages to future generations and inhabitants.

Early Written Language

Around 700 B.C., there is evidence of the first recorded stories that include the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad by Homer. The fact that these stories were recorded enabled them to spread quickly and widely across the world. Around this same period, there are other surviving stories that are still widely known today, which can be attributed to the fact that they were able to be recorded and written down, including those now known as Aesop’s Fables. Without the written language to record these stories that originated as person-to-person tales, they may not have lasted for over 2,000 years.

Modern Day Storytelling

Today, we tell stories through multiple methods of illustrations, written word, and oral storytelling. What began in the early stages as cautionary tales or part of ceremonial practices, has evolved into a method of exploring emotion, developing vocabulary, and strengthening overall cognition. Storytelling is important in all cultures to not only hear, but also to tell.

At Words Alive, we understand the importance of this and encourage our participants to relate their experiences to the books we read aloud and to join in telling their story to let their voices be heard. If you are interested in helping us build literacy skills for youth in San Diego, visit our website here to learn more details about sponsorship opportunities for our upcoming Author’s Luncheon!

Sources:

http://thestorytelleragency.com/goodreads/50-best-quotes-for-storytelling

http://assets.press.princeton.edu/chapters/s9676.pdf

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/chauvet-cave-paintings-404753

Fund a Mind, Transform a Life

By Jennifer Van Pelt & Sara Mortensen

The 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser is coming up on October 19th and this year our signature fundraising event theme is: Fund a Mind, Transform a Life. This event is important to our organization in many ways, but the most important is this: the Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser provides a significant amount of our income and allows us to continue to deliver high-quality literacy programs all over San Diego. When you buy a ticket to the event, donate towards a silent auction item, or contribute in the ballroom on the day-of, you are helping us fund the minds and transform the lives of the students and families we serve.

 Every dollar you donate at the Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser helps to fund the minds and transform the lives of the students and families we serve.

Every dollar you donate at the Author's Luncheon & Fundraiser helps to fund the minds and transform the lives of the students and families we serve.

Fund a Mind

Literacy is a foundational skill that is so easily taken for granted by many, yet nearly 450,000 San Diego County residents are considered illiterate. Literacy is a skill that is shown to not only have a relationship to someone’s socioeconomic status and earning capabilities, but can also transform one’s life by allowing them a well-rounded and fulfilling education that enables them to effectively communicate and participate in the communities around them.

According to the EARLY WARNING! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, up until the third grade, most children are learning to read. Beginning in the fourth grade, however, they are reading to learn, using their skills to gain more information in subjects such as math and science, to solve problems, to think critically about what they are learning, and to act upon and share that knowledge in the world around them. This turning point at the end of the third grade is why growing amounts of resources are being directed towards children in Kindergarten through third grade.

 An image of one of our Read Aloud Program volunteers reading to a classroom at Golden Hill School.

An image of one of our Read Aloud Program volunteers reading to a classroom at Golden Hill School.

In fact, research like this is the reason why we have strategically designed our Read Aloud Program to target this age range. Reading aloud to young children is the most important thing we can do to help them become motivated, strong readers and in the Words Alive Read Aloud Program trained volunteers read aloud each week to approximately 4,300 children from early childhood education and Title 1 - eligible elementary school sites across San Diego.

Additionally, research from Yale University has indicated that three-quarters of students who are “poor readers” in third grade will remain “poor readers” in high school. Not surprisingly, students with relatively low literacy achievement tend to have more behavioral and social problems in subsequent grades. By focusing on providing additional literacy resources during these key years, it is helping to ensure that these children have the tools to succeed in following years.

Transform a Life

Effective literacy education needs to reach more than just the students that are between Kindergarten and third grade, however. An article published on WCNC states that reading to your child, even in the womb, can activate brain development, increase vocabulary by 24 months, and decrease risk of speech delay. Though this is a known fact amongst experts and doctors, not all parents are aware of the importance this holds on their child’s future success. Educating families as a whole on when to read to their children and what techniques they can use is equally important. Literacy skills can start building from an early age and are building blocks for reading proficiency by the end of third grade.

 An image of one of the kids in our Family Literacy Program standing in front of a huge cutout of the Hungry caterpillar!

An image of one of the kids in our Family Literacy Program standing in front of a huge cutout of the Hungry caterpillar!

Words Alive’s Family Literacy Program aims to empower parents as agents of change and advocates for their families by meeting parents where they are and giving them the "ah-ha!" moments that lead to deeper engagement with their children. Parents in the program attend seven workshops, receiving approximately ten hours of parent education covering early literacy development topics specific to preschool age children. Each workshop includes a tailored information session and skill-building exercises for parents, a group story time, and guided activities for parents and children.

As we know here at Words Alive, literacy goes beyond the simple act of reading words off a page and interpreting their meaning. Dr. Berninger, Professor Emerita of Educational Psychology at the University of Washington mentioned in a New York Times article, “Literacy involves all aspects of language, including our oral language, what we hear and say, and our written language, what we read and write.” She called it “language by ear, mouth, eye and hand.” As children grow and  develop, they cannot be denied the resources that allow them to learn these skills.

All of our programs at Words Alive aim to , ensure that children are able to build the skills that can transform their lives and help them become well-rounded individuals with the power to change their communities for the better.

Simply put: Words Alive uses all donations to fund the minds of children, which helps them transform their lives. Join us for our Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser, where you can enjoy a wonderful afternoon while knowing that your actions are making a difference in the state of literacy education in your community.

Click here for more information, and to purchase tickets or a table for the 15th Annual Author’s Luncheon & Fundraiser.

Sources:

www.aecf.org

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/well/family/literacy-builds-life-skills-as-well-as-language-skills.html

https://hechingerreport.org/how-to-help-struggling-young-readers/

https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/why-you-should-read-read-read-to-young-children/275-573777471