Recognizing the importance of fighting illiteracy in our community, Visions is proud to sponsor the Walk4Literacy on Saturday, Oct. 15. 50 spots were available for students and their family members at no cost. Each walker also received a t-shirt.
The family-friendly, four-mile walk through Oak Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, and Downtown started three years ago in an effort to raise awareness about the literacy crisis among our children. It’s estimated that 2 out of 3 third graders read below grade level. Research shows that if students are still behind by the end of 4th grade, 74% of them will never catch up.
Why Should You Walk?
“Literacy is a health indicator for any society,” said Visions In Education Executive Director, Jody Graf. “Developing literacy is more than just developing someone’s reading skills. It is developing their thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving capacities … We can focus our attention in a lot of places, but increasing literacy will always yield a greater return on time invested.”
In 2015, the Walk4Literacy raised $15,000 for local programs to positively impact children’s literacy. Graf said Visions In Education supports the walk because, as educators, literacy is our primary interest. The research, she says, is clear that students with a strong vocabulary have greater ability to use language as a means to think through an idea/concept, reason, analyze, and draw conclusions, which ultimately ties to all learning.
Graf encourages families to participate in the walk because, in addition to raising funds to fight illiteracy, a large participation rate gets the attention of the community and states that literacy is important to us.
“People pay attention when they begin to see a critical mass in action,” said Graf. “Ten percent is what it takes to create critical mass for shifts in awareness to happen.”
The Walk4Literacy is organized by the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, Teach for America, and 916 Ink.
Students and families familiar with our writing programs may recognize 916 Ink due to their involvement and facilitation of our Find Your Voice writing courses. In addition to following the writing model of 916 Ink, our partnership with the program allows each course to culminate in the publication of a book that contains the students’ semester of work. The work 916 Ink does at Visions and within Sacramento is, according to Graf, profound.
“In my 30 years within education, I can say that this is the most transformational class I have experienced when it comes to developing a student’s voice,” said Graf. “916 Ink understands clearly that students who are able to form and express their thoughts are more likely to be the author of their thoughts and emotions, and not authored by their thoughts and emotions. This is a critical development for all of us, and especially our youth.”
For more information, please visit walk4literacy.org.