Rockford area staff ready to implement ‘United for Literacy’ campaign

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 11:00 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Thirty-two percent of Winnebago County students can read at or above a third-grade level. That’s one reason why two local organizations participate in a training session Tuesday, Nov. 14 for its staff.

This 32% is just one alarming statistic that led to the establishment of United Way’s ‘United for Literacy’ campaign. The goal is to have 75% of children in the county reading at or above grade level by 2034.

“Everybody has to work together to focus on that 0 - 5 and what we can do for pre-reading skills. That will make all the difference for reading skills later,” says Amy Pfeifer with the Rockford Public Library.

Roughly two dozen people took an important first step Tuesday afternoon. They learned about the five key components in getting every child ready to read: talking, singing, writing, reading and playing. Presenter Amy Pfeifer says she did this with her child she adopted from China in 2006.

“She spoke her first English word in China after a few weeks. We were reading a book about ducks and my child said ‘duck.’ We sang and we talked. That’s what we encourage all parents to do with their children.”

Attendee Silvia Diaz says she sees herself implementing what she learned with her nieces, nephews and godson.

“I’m just excited to interact with them, watch them smile, watch them laugh, be joyful, having them be loud and rambunctious... that’s all I can hope for.”

“We’re excited. The childcare providers who are participating are excited. I think the children are going to love us coming out each month,” says Lisa Bock with YWCA Northwestern Illinois.

Starting this month, the YWCA plans to read to children, either in their homes or somewhere else. The Rockford Public Library will also set up literacy corners around the city. One of those is the Laundromat on N. Main Street.