|Read with Rotary
|Posted on Apr 06 2010
|Read With Rotary, the new Adult literacy program sponsored by Arlington Rotary Club and Arlington Sunset. After months of evaluation, planning, recruiting, training, etc., the new community service was launched last night with a greater response than any of the authorities in this field had felt was possible.
|As a reminder, the program focuses on Adult Basic Education, specifically, teaching Adults who are English speakers, but functionally illiterate (reading and writing below a 4th grade level) to read, write and comprehend. We had researched and picked the most effective curriculum. We had recruited and trained Rotarians, Rotary spouses, and friends. We had been given the use of a small building on the property of First United Methodist Church in Arlington as a place to hold our classes. Our financial resources had come from the two Rotary clubs, the District Simplified Grant program, and from a United Way grant. Student recruiting was facilitated by the schools in the neighborhood, businesses, and social service agencies. The cost of training materials and licenses quickly broke our budget, and the Board of Arlington Rotary stepped in to enable the full potential of the resource to be assembled.
There was a lot of preparation. But, when enrollment time approached, the Rotary literacy team had no idea if anyone would overcome the stigma of admitting the inability to read, and step forward to enroll. We had been warned that the turnout in similar start-ups had been zero to one or two. We had no idea…until the phones started ringing yesterday, the day of registration.
The response was surprising, and heartwarming, and showed that the United Way was right. There are thousands and thousands out there-English speakers who can't read with their children, or properly fill out a job application, or read instructions on a package or on pharmacy items, or a myriad of other things that we take for granted.
We had 9 who were interviewed and screened, and who enrolled. We have 4 others who set appointments for enrollment in the next few days. We had referrals from Mission Arlington, Women's Center, Salvation Army and a probation officer (???). We had good response from well worded flyers in the neighborhood.
Our students will be attending class two nights a week, for two hours. They will be participating in a proven program prepared by Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, and based on the multi-sensory learning research that is recommended for Adults, and for any with dyslexia, or other reading weaknesses.
The program which has been launched will be carefully monitored and refined as it unfolds. We plan to limit enrollment for several months while we stabilize our program and our teachers gain experience with the lessons. But, then, we hope to be able to allow the expansion that now seems certain in our community. In addition, we will be striving to firm up the model so that the basic structure and materials can be made available to any other District Rotary club that would like to explore implementing
a community based Adult (non-ESL) reading program.
We express appreciation to the District Simplified Grant team, who played an invaluable role in getting this worthwhile community service launched.
Bob Griffin is a member of the Rotary Club of Arlington, and past Club President. He can be reached by email at: email@example.com