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Literacy Coalition News
March/April 2014


New funding would expand Imagination Library to every child aged 0-5 in the City of Syracuse!

Every young child in Syracuse will begin to receive one book a month starting in July if city and county leaders have their way. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney have put money in their proposed budgets to expand the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County's Imagination Library, which currently serves about half the kids in the city. Miner would give $50,000 to the effort, and Mahoney $120,000. The budgets still have to be approved by the Common Council and the County Legislature, respectively.

The announcement was made by Onondaga County's Children and Family Services Commissioner David Sutkowy and Syracuse Director of Administration Beth Rougeux at a forum at WCNY introducing the Onondaga Citizens League's latest report, "Early Childhood and School Readiness: Creating a Community Where All Children Thrive by 5," which calls for a systematic approach to the lack of readiness among the county's youngest children.

Onondaga Citizen's League

Only about half the children in Onondaga County are fully prepared when they start kindergarten, according to a report released by the Onondaga Citizens League. The report says that fact should "sound an alarm" across the community.

It stresses the social and economic costs of school failure and notes that the years before children enter school are the most crucial to their brain development. The study, co-chaired by Laurie Black of Syracuse 20/20 and Paul Predmore of the Bousquet Holstein law firm, concluded, "More children in Onondaga County need to be born healthy, more should receive routine health and wellness screenings, and more need greater interaction with the written and spoken word." Learn more about this work through the following Post-Standard articles by Paul Riede:

ProLiteracy/LiteracyCNY Launch New Program to Prepare for New High School Equivalency Test

ProLiteracy and LiteracyCNY are teaming up to create a mentoring program for adults wishing to take the high school equivalency exam. The new "Buddy Up" program will recruit and train 15-20 volunteer tutors. These tutors will be buddied up with 225 low-income, underserved Syracuse young adults who are enrolled in pre-HSE or HSE instruction at the Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center and who require individualized help. This program is made possible through generous support from AT&T.

Check presentation at the Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center included, Literacy CNY Executive Director Marsha Tait, AT&T Regional External Affairs Manager Kevin Hanna, and ProLiteracy President and CEO Kevin Morgan. (Scott Willis / WAER News)

"AT&T is proud to support ProLiteracy's innovative tutoring program aimed at improving youth reading levels among Syracuse's most vulnerable students," says Marissa Shorenstein, New York State president, AT&T.

"AT&T is committed to investing in the future success of our youth by partnering with community organizations like ProLiteracy which provide the tools and support needed for our students to achieve high school success leading to higher education and the skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow." Learn more.

Literacy Coalition announces Literacy Champion Grant Awards at Read Across America Celebration

The Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County and the OCPL's Hazard Branch Library celebrated the National Education Association's Read Across America Day on Monday, March 3rd. The event had a Dr. Seuss theme, as Read Across America Day is celebrated in conjunction with the birthday of the beloved children's author. Also announced were the 4th Annual Literacy Champion Grants that supports family literacy programming for our Imagination Library families.

Pre-kindergarten students from Syracuse's Porter Elementary School listen to Dr. Seuss' "The Big Foot" during a Read Across America Day celebration today at the Hazard Branch Library. (Stephen D. Cannerelli | scannerelli@syracuse.com)

Here's the full 2014 listing of the $50,000 in grants awarded to six community partners, which now totals $200,000 over the past four years through the support of the Central New York Community Foundation. Learn more.

  1. InterFaith Works of CNY: $10,000 for Jump Up! Story Circles
  2. Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo: $9,500 for Tadpole Academy
  3. Child Care Solutions: $7,709 for Bottomless Book Bag
  4. Catholic Charities: $7,500 for Parents Engaged in Educating Kids
  5. WCNY: $7,009 for Intergenerational Poetry Project
  6. Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo: $7,000 for Animal ABC's
  7. LiteracyCNY: $1,232 for Parent workshops at SEOC for adult education students
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