International Literacy Day

The 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day is on Friday, September 8th. Each year, nonprofits, NGOs and education leaders from around the world shine a spotlight on our global literacy needs. In honor of International Literacy Day, East Side Learning Center (ESLC) is spreading the word about our vision—a world where every child has the opportunity to read proficiently with pride and joy by 3rd grade.

In the world of literacy, third grade is the most important year. It’s the year every child’s potential in life is weighed and measured. So, what’s so important about reading proficiently by third grade? Studies show that children who are not proficient in reading by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school before graduation. A person without a college degree can expect to earn an annual income of $20,241, according to the US Census Bureau, and $36,424 less than someone with a bachelor’s degree. Incarceration rates are a startling 63 times higher for people without a high school diploma than for people with a college degree. In the St. Paul Public School District, 64% are not reading proficiently by third grade.

How you make a difference

ESLC is committed to preventing children from falling behind in reading. Recent national data suggests it is more efficient and less burdensome on the child to intervene in kindergarten and first grade rather than in later years. This year ESLC will tutor nearly 240 children in kindergarten and first grade alone. That’s about 85% of our total student population.

But ESLC does not do this without community support.

First, as reading volunteers and tutors, you develop caring one-on-one relationships with the children. Some of you tutor multiple days a week and start tutoring them in Pre-Kindergarten programs as well as continuing with us through the school year. Last year, you gave 19,629 hours to the community in the form of tutoring. This commitment to the children ensures more children reach proficiency earlier. ESLC also continues to strategically tutor 2nd and 3rd graders who need our help catching up to peers by the end of third grade.

You are the key to this success. Because you build relationships with the children, show kindness and tutor the same child more than one day per week for at least one semester! Your dedication ensures our children have the opportunity to read with pride and joy by third grade.

Second, our financial supporters—grant funders, individual donors and corporate partners—ensure we can continue to provide this unique, high-quality service focused solely on the needs of the children. This year, you helped 226 children achieve grade-level efficiency and 269 grow their reading skills to the minimum amount needed to “catch up.”

Join us this Friday, September 8th in celebrating your contributions on International Literacy Day and unlocking the potential of each child in the foundational of reading. Tell the world why you tutor at ESLC by leaving a comment below!