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Literacy Coalition News
September/October 2013



Grade-Level Reading leader, Ralph Smith, visits Syracuse

Summer Learning Day 2013

OCL Early Childhood Education Study Co-Chairs, Laurie Black (Syracuse 20/20) and Paul Predmore (Attorney, Bousquet Holstein) with Sandra Barrett (OCL Executive Director) meet with Ralph Smith at ProLiteracy. Photo credit: Chuck Wainwright.

The senior vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and managing director for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Ralph Smith, has been on the road constantly, crisscrossing the nation to spread the word about efforts to increase rates of third-grade reading proficiency, especially for children from low-income families.

An alarming number of children—about 67 percent nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families—are not proficient readers by the end of third grade. This has significant and long-term consequences not only for each of those children but for their communities, and for our nation as a whole. If left unchecked, this problem will undermine efforts to end intergenerational poverty, close the achievement gap, and reduce high school dropout rates.

Summer Learning Day 2013

Ralph Smith speaks at the NYS Community Literacy Summit at the CNY Philanthropy Center to almost 50 representatives from literacy coalitions around the state, facilitated by Kim Scott of Literacy Powerline, the NYS Coordinator for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Photo Credit: John Eberle.

During his two-day visit, Ralph Smith spoke at the NYS Funders Conference on Tues. Oct. 22nd at the Genesee Grande Hotel with Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey. Then, the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County (LCOC) organized his day on Wed. Oct. 23rd which included: an Editorial Board at the Post-Standard; he was the keynote speaker at the NYS Community Literacy Summit at the CNY Philanthropy Center, through the support of the Central New York Community Foundation and Literacy Powerline, with representatives from literacy coalitions from across the state; he met with Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO; spoke to the Onondaga Citizens League (OCL) Early Childhood Education Study Committee at ProLiteracy, and attended a reception in his honor at the SU Warehouse hosted by Marilyn Higgins, VP for Community Engagement & Economic Development at Syracuse University.

"Through this collective impact strategy, we are putting a laser focus on these critical issues in our community," said Virginia Carmody, Executive Director of the LCOC that has been active in promoting school readiness and family literacy. "Working together we can help overcome one of our region's most pressing challenges and help create a pathway to success for our children and their families." Learn more »

Ticket Proceeds to be Shared with Literacy Champions!

The Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment are pleased to announce an exciting partnership with our Literacy Champions to share in the proceeds of our upcoming 1st Annual "Stories of the Season" on Friday, November 29th from 5:30-9:00 pm in the Clinton Exchange during the City of Syracuse's Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Clinton Square.

The following Literacy Champions will have the opportunity to raise awareness about their programs, sell tickets and keep the net ticket proceeds: Child Care Solutions; Children's Consortium; InterFaith Works; Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse; Friends of the Central Library; Partners in Learning/MANOS; Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo; and WCNY's Family Literacy Program.

We commend each of our Literacy Champions for providing outstanding literacy and dual-generation (family literacy) programming to families in our community and our Imagination Library enrollees. Ticket price is $75 per person, $125 per couple and children under 15 are FREE! This includes: live music, open bar, a supervised children's activity area, Santa and a Storyteller, carving stations, pasta bar, desserts, a silent auction and a warm place to watch the lighting of the Clinton Square holiday tree.

Make your reservations today. If you have questions or comments or would like to purchase tickets over the phone, please contact: Kimberly Kemp at 315-214-2878 or kkemp@unitedway-cny.org.

Storyteller at Manlius Public Library celebrates 25th Year

The Story Hour Storyteller, Karen Porcello, celebrated 25 years in September at the Manlius Public Library. On a weekly basis, children and adults are treated to a real pro with children's books who truly knows how to make the most out of old favorites and books hidden on the shelves.

Ms. Karen starts each session by saying to the children 'Are you thinking smart today?' after asking about the title page. This is greeted by screams of laughter and joy! She sprinkles 'smart' over their head and as she calls each child by name, they bow for the gift. Each week she also reviews with 3 and 4yr. olds: Are you smart? Are you beautiful? Are you strong? Are you fun to be with? Do you tell good jokes? Do you smell good? And a rousing YES can be heard from all assembled in a beautiful room, with kid seats and carpet squares to get closer to her.

Summer Learning Day 2013

Meet Ms. Karen, Storyteller at the Manlius Public Library. Photo Credit: Kathy Byrnes (proud grandmother and regular visitor).

The children get more in their experience: often Karen is singing parts of the story, she digs deep into her bag chuck full of animal toys, trucks, whatever the stories are about, Ms Karen has a bag full of goodies to enrich the story. There is such a complete fun learning environment in this Story Hour with Ms. Karen as she leads everyone into a group activity with movement, crafts and games.

Ms. Karen is a total gift for the children and adults attending. A room of 20 children, parents and grandparents attend the Thursday hour of reading, imagination and fun. She is a community treasure and it is a total privilege to be in the room to experience her Storytelling. Learn more about the storytimes at the Manlius Public Library.

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