Rock For Reading through grants, volunteer support and book donations contributes to fellow organizations that have similar missions to fight illiteracy and renew interest in reading. Rock For Reading targets groups that focus on functional literacy programs as well as those that encourage a culture of reading.
In 2006, we made 14 monetary grants totaling $52,500
In 2007, we made 21 monetary grants totaling $98,900
In 2008, we made 14 monetary grants totaling 55,000
Casa Juan Diego Youth Center: Little Saints Readers
Support from Rock For Reading enabled 100 students at Casa Juan Diego’s 2006 summer reading program to receive their own copy of Seedfolks by Paul Fleishman. The students read the book, which tells the fictional story of a community garden and the diverse people that tend it, as part of a summer initiative to incorporate reading and outdoor community activity. The students also took part in cleaning up a garden plot adjacent to the Casa Juan Diego Youth Center. The combination of the story and project taught the students about the importance of taking care of the community as a team.
Rock For Reading provides grant support to Sit, Stay, Read, a literacy program that helps inner-city Chicago children learn how to read. Sit, Stay, Read has used the financial support from Rock for Reading in part to nearly double its programs from 22 in 2005 to 43 in 2006. The organization in 2006 worked with 610 children and gave 1,993 individuals reading sessions.
Rock For Reading and Sit, Stay, Read also have created reading programs at schools and residential and community facilities. Programs at the Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network and the Primo Center for Women and Children have taught children not only to practice their reading but also to learn important dog-handling and safety skills.
“Thanks to funding by Rock For Reading, children in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods know that people care, not only about reading, but also about them,” states the organization.
The Sue Duncan Children’s Center, an educational and recreational program for inner-city children, used Rock For Reading grant funds to expand its book library and hire a reading specialist to provide more intensive instruction to children who are reading below level.
The one-on-one tutoring provided by the reading specialist has helped numerous children such as Sherron, a fifth grader who essentially was a non-reader when he first visited the center. After months of tutoring with the reading specialist, he was reading basic chapter books.
The center continues to work to identify where each child is academically and tailor educational support to promote academic progress. The role of the reading specialist further has enabled the center to provide individualized assistance.
B.E.S.T Adult Literacy Program
The B.E.S.T. Adult Literacy Program expanded and upgraded its computer system using a $5,000 funding grant from Rock For Reading. The group purchased software to support the system upgrades as well as two new monitors, a printer, a digital camera, textbooks and program software for lesson curriculum.
Students use four of the upgraded computers in their computer lab, which has enabled them to get onto the Internet for employment searches and engage in interactive reading programs. Some students have used the computers to complete their GED exams.
“B.E.S.T. is still a grass roots organization that has a trail laid before it. Thank you, Rock For Reading, for equipping our ability to better serve the community,” states the organization.
A $3,000 Rock For Reading grant helped fund student scholarships for Families Together Cooperative Nursery School. The grant money also helped fund an instructor’s salary and purchase materials and supplies for the Literacy Enhancement Class. Participants in the class discuss words, letters, sounds and stories. In each session, the class reads a book and creates their version of the book’s theme. Students, parents and teachers report that they learned about a lot about books and basic literacy skills, and they created amazing artwork and stories through the Literacy Enhancement Class.
Book donations and support from Rock For Reading has helped Book Worm Angels grow from serving 21,000 students in 37 schools in June 2005 to serving more than 46,000 students in 78 schools in November 2006. Book Worm Angels is a literacy program that provides in-classroom lending libraries to public elementary schools.
“Book Worm Angel’s growth would not be possible without R4R’s support, for which we and, more important, the at-risk children who get books to read they would otherwise never see, are grateful,” states the organization.
Good News Reading Program
Good News, a provider of one-on-one reading tutoring to at-risk learners, created a take-home library using grant funds from Rock For Reading. The organization was able to purchase books for the library that children can read and share. Good News also improved its read-aloud library, which is stocked with books that tutors read to children at the end of their tutoring sessions. Children that participate in the Good News reading program also get to meet with children’s book authors. When an author visits, each child receives his or her own autographed copy of the selected book.
In part from funds donated by Rock For Reading, Literacy Works trained 714 volunteers and staff members in 2006 to help meet the needs of adult literacy learners. It also helped 84 teen and adult learners improve their skills in employment literacy, family literacy and writing through the organization’s Succeed with Literacy, OK Learn and Writers’ Circle workshops.
“The staff and Board of Directors of Literacy Works are deeply grateful to Rock For Reading for supporting and encouraging its services to Chicago’s community-based literacy programs and helping volunteer tutors and adult learners together transform their lives through literacy,” states the organization.
A grant from Rock For Reading enabled the Kohl McCormick StoryBus to provide a StoryBus Professional Development Program for Chicago-area Head Start educators. StoryBus is a literacy program for Chicago’s low-income preschool and kindergarten students that offers hands-on learning opportunities. It also provides related curriculum programs and professional development workshops for teachers. The organization has served more than 550 teachers and 30,400 students and their parents.
Each educator who participated in the literacy program received the StoryBus Little Red Hen curriculum guide, classroom books, professional growth instruction and materials to engage parents as partners in the learning experience of their children. As a result of the program developed from Rock For Reading funds, 170 pre-kindergarten teachers in Chicago’s most under-served neighborhoods are better prepared to help their students become kindergarten ready.