2015 Grant Recipients

3rd Year Grant
Diamond Fund Matching Grant

Agency Background: Literacy Connects was created in 2011 through the merger of five existing literacy organizations based in Pima County. Their vision is for literacy to be accessible and attainable for all, and that a more literate community will thrive economically, socially and culturally. Their major programs include: “Reach Out and Read Southern Arizona” which partners with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. “Reading Seed” helps children learn to read and “Stories that Soar!”, a multifaceted literacy and arts program, which empowers youth by giving voice to their original words and creative ideas. Literacy Volunteers of Tucson teaches adults to read, write and speak English.

Focus of 2015 Grant: Reading Seed Children’s Literacy Program “Reading Seed” recruits and trains volunteer reading coaches from the community to assist children reading below grade level in grades kindergarten through five. Students are referred by their classroom teacher to receive intensive, one-onone literacy coaching with a trained and caring volunteer who is dedicated to their success. SCCF support will help cover the costs of fingerprinting, background clearance, training, support and professional development for volunteers. Each volunteer receives a comprehensive training manual, name badge, book and activity resources, and ongoing professional development workshops. Each student enrolled in the program also receives a reading game board with prizes, a writing journal, and free books to build a home library.

Measurable Results: “Stories that Soar!” – 89% of teachers integrated this program into their writing curriculum, 40% used it to support reading. 71% of teachers reported that their students requested more writing time. 99% of teachers reported improved student attitude and behavior about writing. 82% reported increased confidence and motivation to read and write.

“Reading Seed” – nearly 750 community members volunteered, serving 1,739 struggling readers in eight Pima County school districts. 99% of volunteer coaches who responded said the program made a difference in the reading ability of children in the program. Skills assessments showed that students working with a one/one coach progress 36% faster than same grade students without a coach.

Contact: Kelly Wiehe, Director of Development kwiehe@literacyconnects.org