Last year, librarian Rajeeni Galloway met a student that others had already deemed a lost cause.
This student’s record was riddled with suspensions, and her grades had suffered so much that she could no longer keep abreast. She was failing.
Galloway knew all too well what was at risk if the student didn’t get help. She decided to step in .
Luckily, Galloway specializes in helping struggling children , not only with their current classes, but also to identify and fill in the gaps from their earlier education. “Those early abilities are so integral, ” she says. They can also be much harder to teach children later in life.
Through intense run and mentoring, the student started to improve. Before long, she began to excel .
“Now she’s on the honor roll, ” Galloway says. In fact, she’ll be graduating this year — a full year ahead of schedule.
This student was lucky. Many others don’t have access to this kind of help and support.
And, unlike Galloway’s students, their futures can be a lot bleaker.
Without the proper help, students’ educational struggles continue. They start to fail class. Their frustrations build and they begin to act out. They get into difficulty both in and out of school.
Ultimately, many kids who struggle drop out — and it only gets worse from there. Once a student fails academically, it often leads to failings throughout the rest of their life .
High school dropouts are three and a half times more likely to be arrested and eight times more likely to get jailed than people who get their degree. Young women who drop out of high school are nine times more likely to be or become single moms. Dropouts are also more likely to end up on some sort of government assistance.
How do we prevent high school dropouts? Teach kids to read.
Early literacy including with regard to is important in keeping kids engaged in school through graduation, Galloway says .
That’s because kids who struggle with read will struggle with concepts in every other subject, and by the time they’ve reached high school, their academic battles have become a compound problem: one that started with read but has now branched out to include every subject they encounter.
But with more than half of U.S. public school students coming from low-income families, many children don’t have access to the tools they need in order to learn how to read in the first place .
Vast “book deserts, ” or low-income communities without bookstores or libraries, can mean that kids have literally no way to get their hands on a volume — much less one that’s the right reading level for them. In some households, parents are too busy working to keep food on the table to read to their children at night. Low-income children simply don’t have what they need to start reading early.
That’s why Galloway’s district works with First Book to make sure that children are supported throughout their literacy journey .
To combat book deserts, First Book offer brand new books and resources at low or no cost to lecturers serving children in need, so that income is never the reason small children doesn’t have access to volumes.
Galloway’s school also provides resources for mothers to offer academic nurturing at home. “We have parent workshops where parents come in, especially in elementary school, and we indicate mothers different strategies to support students at home, ” she says.
In addition, First Book reports significant progress in increasing kids’ those who are interested in reading by making sure they offer not only any volumes, but books that are diverse and relevant, that speak to kids of all ages, and that help children consider the positivity reading can bring into their lives. When children can read, they can tap into their potential — no matter their circumstances .
Increasing access to volumes could be the first step to solving a lot of our nation’s most pressing social problems.
Most kids who don’t learn to read come from low-income backgrounds, and, as Galloway’s teaching experience depicts, those who never learn to read are at risk of remaining stuck in that cycle of poverty.
By increasing access to volumes and reading resources at a young age, organisations like First Book could be helping solve not just the literacy issue, but also issues like income inequality, incarceration, welfare dependency, and more, which are deeply connected to early literacy and education.
So next time you watch a kid with a volume, know that it’s not just for fun. Sometimes, it’s for survival .
Millions of children under low-income areas don’t have appropriate tools needed to learn, placing them at a drawback that perpetuates poverty. First Book is a community that believes education is the way out of poverty for children in need.
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