Oakland Reads 2020
By Faith Network of the East Bay
Lately, I’ve been reading about the positive changes that Oakland’s Operation Ceasefire program has been bringing to our community. At first, people were doubtful that this initiative would be effective–after all, the same program had been invoked in 2009 with little results. This time around, the public is seeing results in the arrests of gang members, and traffic stops that provide leads to seizure of drugs and illegal firearms, mainly because law enforcement is enforcing the law.
In the midst of these flashy triumphs comes the news of another initiative: Oakland Reads 2020. Though less sensational than busting drug dealers and pimps, increasing literacy in our schools will have a profound effect on future crime rates. Inadequate reading skills are such a strong indicator of future delinquency that the California Department of Corrections uses 3rd grade literacy rates to determine the future capacity of our state’s prisons.
Oakland Reads 2020 is an eight-year initiative that is part of a national vision to bring kids up to reading at grade level. While the ceasefire’s goal is to immediately squelch violence in our streets, improving literacy for Oakland schoolchildren and their families will hopefully counter truancy and crime 10+ years before they happen. With the power to read, kids are more likely to stay in school and pursue higher education.
The Oakland Literacy Coalition started Oakland Reads 2020 as a part of fulfilling their mission statement to “increase the capacity of literacy providers to improve early learning outcomes in order to ensure that all Oakland children are reading at a proficient level by the end of third grade. We fulfill this mission through collaboration, promotion of effective practices, resource development and policy work.” Not surprisingly, one of their collaborators is (…you guessed it) Faith Network. Additionally, the program is receiving financial support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Rogers Family Foundation, and the East Bay Community Foundation–all champions of early literacy and also funders of Faith Network’s Succeeding by Reading program. We are grateful for their support and glad to do our part!
If you would like to help a child with reading this summer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be an investment into our future.