Philanthropy

Believing in the power of literacy

posted by Tariq Farid March 13, 2017

Learning to read can be a challenge.  Two established literacy programs in the region, New Haven Reads and Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven, help children and adults improve literacy skills and empower them for success. And the Tariq Farid Foundation is proud to support their work.

Last year, these organizations helped more than 1,200 students. The largest group — 1,100 English Speakers of Other Languages — took Literacy Volunteer classes in New Haven, Meriden-Wallingford and Shelton. From personal experience, I know what it is like to face the challenge of learning a new language. That’s why I am especially excited that our support of New Haven Reads helped open a fourth tutoring site on Willow Street, near the East Rock Magnet School.tutoring pair 1 AA 2016 page (2)

Among those praising the programs are:

  • Alicia, who was tutored by Literacy Volunteers at Junta for Progressive Action in New Haven, says, “My life changed so much since taking English classes. Now, it is easier to speak to my kids’ teachers. I can go to appointments and not ask for interpreter. I help my kids with their homework. Every day, I continue to learn new things.”
  • Miguel wants to get his “GED so I can get a better job. I also want help my sons with their homework.”
  • An East Rock Magnet School principal, wrote that students have benefited tremendously from one-on-one tutoring and parents/guardians also appreciate the educational family support provided by New Haven Reads.

Over 62 percent of adult learners achieved at least a 4 or more-point gain in reading. A 4-point gain is roughly the equivalent of one grade level.

Through individual tutoring and classroom sessions, students are improving their reading scores and more importantly increasing their self-confidence. I believe these reading and English language classes have a role in fostering an inclusive community.

Helping people — especially an immigrant parent — get comfortable with vocabulary, with asking questions, filling out a job application or speak with their child’s teacher are positive steps to becoming engaged in their community.

For learners and their families, literacy is life-changing. For the dedicated volunteers who teach them, I appreciate your commitment.

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