Read Better Be Better Distributes Family Literacy Kits During Crisis

Posted By on June 16, 2020

Read Better Be Better (RBBB) was recently awarded grants from four major organizations and funds in order to create and distribute Family Literacy Kits to third graders in the Maricopa and Pinal counties. 

The kits were handed out when families arrived at school for meal pickup, and RBBB was able to distribute 4,590 Family Literacy Kits to 51 schools in 10 districts over the course of six days throughout May.   

Read Better Be Better was awarded grants from The Alison Lewis & Craig Krumwiede Family Foundation and The Burton Family Foundation through the Arizona COVID-19 Community Response Fund (ACF), as well as grants from Microsoft via the C19 Response Fund administered by the Microsoft Datacenter Community Development Team and Valley of the Sun United Way’s United For the Valley COVID-19 Fund for the creation and distribution of Family Literacy Kits.

RBBB partners struggling 3rd grade Readers with at-risk 6th-8th grade mentor Leaders to meet twice a week for 10 weeks and work through structured curriculum to improve reading comprehension, concentration, and the enjoyment of reading.

Until all schools were closed statewide mid-March, RBBB was serving 953 students in 10 districts at 44 Title 1 schools across Maricopa and Pinal counties, including the cities of El Mirage, Goodyear, Avondale, Surprise, Buckeye, and Glendale.

In addition to students missing classroom instruction and the normalcy and routine that school offers, students were no longer receiving the essential one-on-one reading time with their mentor partners that RBBB provides. On average, the 3rd graders in RBBB’s program improve 60% on their reading comprehension exams after one 20-session semester.

With school instruction on hiatus and a deep digital divide, RBBB saw the need to do something to prevent the loss of gains in reading during quarantine.

The Family Literacy Kits contained easy-to-use curriculum guides, reading resource sheets, storybooks, sticky notes, and a pencil and sharpener, all in a tote. The curriculum guides provide clear instructions to help caregivers assist their children in gaining reading comprehension skills and can be used for any available reading material in the home, from cereal boxes to comic books, as well as subject textbooks and homework sheets that have been sent from school.

“We already know how important literacy is to lifelong success,” said Sophie Etchart, Founder and CEO. “For those children who have been isolated at home, with limited libraries and preoccupied parents, our programming has become more critical than ever. It was imperative that we develop modified implementation strategies as soon as possible to mitigate learning loss.”

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