San Diego Literacy

#LetsReadSD with the San Diego Council on Literacy

Did you know Words Alive is a proud affiliate of the San Diego Council on Literacy (SDCOL)?

For the past 30 years, the SDCOL has worked to bring awareness to the literacy cause in San Diego by uniting the community through advocacy, partnerships, resources, and coordination. As a convener, the SDCOL also brings together 30 affiliate literacy providers from across the county for networking, professional development, and resource sharing.

These opportunities have undoubtedly benefited Words Alive by connecting us with expertise of other passionate providers doing whatever it takes to create a more literate San Diego. And together, we certainly achieve more. Last year, the 30 affiliate partners of the SDCOL delivered no-cost literacy-building services to more than 170,000 children, youth, and adults across San Diego.

One of the central goals of the SDCOL is to instill the importance of literacy in the region. On that front, in 2014 the SDCOL spearheaded a Region that Reads campaign fostering partnerships with the 19 mayors of San Diego County in which each would support the work of the SDCOL. It also encouraged mayors to designate a liaison from each city to ensure greater connectivity and communication between the cities and literacy providers on the ground. Words Alive is proud to have contributed towards this effort as a member of the public policy committee. The SDCOL also shares resources with its affiliate programs, where most recently, the SDCOL contributed to our Read Aloud Program with a donation of new, high-quality children's books that will be distributed through our program-wide giveaway later this month.

Currently, the SDCOL is promoting their #LetsReadSD campaign to empower individuals to share their love of reading on social media. We encourage you to "get caught reading" this month, and learn more about the SDCOL and its affiliate programs to see the amazing work we do together!

Click here for more information about the San Diego Council on Literacy and its affiliated programs, and on the image below for more on the SDCOL's #LetsReadSD campaign.

The Gift of Reading

Literacy is the foundation of our success. It allows us to learn, to teach, and to make change in the community. Our three programs tackle literacy issues among children, teens, and families, each with the shared goal of creating life-long learners. Establishing a commitment to reading gives individuals the confidence to change their communities and take charge of their life.

Our programs inspire a commitment to literacy early in life so children and teens do not remain illiterate into their adult lives. Our Read Aloud Program sends trained volunteers into elementary classrooms and engages children with stories. Teen Services ensures young adults have a space to discuss novels and can pursue higher education with our Westreich Scholarship Program. The Family Literacy Program empowers parents to make reading a priority in their home and teaches effective methods of doing so. Each of our programs aims to prevent illiteracy later in life by engaging children, teens, and families with reading early on in their development.

Words Alive is proud to offer these programs that empower participants in all stages of life. In order for us to continue giving the gift of reading, we need your generosity and support. This holiday season, when reading a card, your favorite novel, or this blog post, be thankful for the opportunities you had to become a developed reader. Help Words Alive create this same experience for others in San Diego by making a donation. Your generosity will help advocate for literacy and allow us to give the gift that keeps on giving. 

Literacy is important; it is the foundation of success in our society, and Words Alive strives to ensure we all have the same opportunities to achieve our goals.

Words Alive Awarded Community Partner of the Year by Neighborhood House Association

(Pictured left to right are: Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez - Director of Research and Training, NHA, Carter Anderson - WA Read Aloud Program Manager, Kimberly Maraya - WA Read Aloud volunteer at Miller Head Start, Sharon Gruby - WA Read Aloud volunteer at McGill School of Success and Read Aloud Program co-chair, Terri Hamlin -WA Read Aloud volunteer at McGill School of Success and Read Aloud Program co-chair, Amanda Bonds - WA Senior Program Manager)


Words Alive is honored to be recognized by the Neighborhood House Association as the 2016 Community Partner of the Year! For the past 5 years, Words Alive, our dedicated volunteers and the NHA have worked together to bring quality reading experiences, parent education and book ownership to Head Start families who need it most. We all agree that a strong literacy foundation is a key factor in scholastic success and we look forward to accomplishing more great thing together! 


At Words Alive, we believe that reading is a cornerstone skill and our mission is to open opportunities for success by cultivating a commitment to reading. Since 2011, we have partnered with the Neighborhood House Association and their collaboration sites within the San Diego Unified School District to bring the love of reading to preschool age children from underserved communities across San Diego. Through weekly read aloud sessions led by trained volunteers, parent workshops, lending libraries and book donations, we have worked alongside schools and families to build a culture of reading. The Neighborhood House has been an important partner in this endeavor and has worked with us to continually deepen our impact on literacy readiness among the families who need it most. Below is a snap shot of what we have accomplished together between 2011 and 2015 (the clock is still ticking on the current school year!):


·        Words Alive has donated 20,255 new and gently used books (given to children to build their home libraries and to site to create center-based libraries where families can borrow books from the same place they bring their children each day) .

·        Volunteers have dedicated 1,633 hours to reading aloud with children in the classroom, helping students cultivate a love of stories and wonder about their world.

·        Words Alive staff has led 255 hours of parent education workshops, helping parents to recognize and grow their power as their child’s first teacher.


These efforts have aligned nicely with the NHA’s three year goals to:

·        Engage the whole community in working together to ensure that children are ready for school (school readiness).

·        Develop programs, competencies and linkages that support and promote parent empowerment and self-sufficiency. (Parents – empowerment/Self-Sufficiency)


Other WA volunteers who read at our Head Start locations but were not able to attend NHA’s Volunteer event include; Sharon Gruby, Charlotte Germundson, Tora Grossman, Terri Hamlin, Christy Moore, Charline Meulemans, Kim Maraya, Cynthia Shenkman, Kathy Zybelman, Linda Sorrentino, Valentina Jones-Wagner