An East Oakland Reading event included games for kids, parent education, a free community lunch, and a summer book giveaway. The books and associated mentoring program aim to inspire students to spend some summer free time in reading – and to make a difference in the lives of Oakland youth.
Thanks to the Oakland Reads 2020 reading initiative, 85 Brookfield Elementary students are in a robust literacy program funded and facilitated by its core partners in a citywide reading campaign. The kickoff event for the Brookfild summer reading program was held at the end of June and brought together over a hundred students, parents and elected officials, including Rep Rob Bonta, whose district includes most of Oakland.
The summer reading program is part of the city-wide Oakland Reads 2020 (OR2020) initiative which is working to change this national statistic: Children from low income families not reading at grade level are 3 times less likely to graduate high school than more affluent children not reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
Since reading skills are a significant predictor of a student graduating high school and having career success, the goal of Oakland Reads is to boost reading skills across all of Oakland’s schools but focusing on schools with large numbers of students from low-income and immigrant families. Currently, only 42% of Oakland students read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade and OR2020 wants to double that.
Brookfield Elementary is one of schools in this focus. Unfortunately, neither OUSD nor the City of Oakland had planed to run a summer reading program there. So OR2020 and its partner, Moving Girls & Boys Forward, have stepped up to provide this needed service.
“We teach literacy skills like reading, comprehension, and writing while focusing on our student’s social and emotional development. It is so amazing to not only see our students improving in their academics, but also to see them building life-changing skills like self-awareness, confidence, and empathy,” Lacy Asbill, Director of Girls & Boys Moving Forward, told Oakland Local. “Our summer program, and the Parent Literacy Event today, are critical components of a campaign to improve our city by investing in young people.”
Asbill co-founded Girls & Boys Moving Forward with Elana Metz and both were awarded the Women in STEM Award last month by Rep. Nancy Skinner. “Making STEM fields accessible to more girls and women require more than just great instruction in math and science – we do our best to equip girls with the self-confidence they need to fearlessly pursue their passions, and see that all career options are open to them,” Asbill said.
Oakland Local ran an article last month on the Oakland Reads 2020 Symposium
Oakland Reads 2020 is currently supported by a collaborative group of funders that includes the Rogers Family Foundation, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and the East Bay Community Foundation. Oakland Reads 2020 is part of the Oakland Literacy Coalition (http://www.oaklandliteracycoalition.org/)
Find all photos from the Kickoff in a full-sized format HERE: