GLR October News..

What’s Happening 

Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition:

We hope that it’s been a great start to your school year. Grade Level Reading is gearing up for a busy Fall.

First, we are thrilled to share that Angelique gave birth to her daughter Hazel Anna-Julia Jessup on Tuesday, October 23rd. Both Hazel and Angelique are doing well and will be spending the next few months together. Angelique plans to return to the office shortly after the new year. Until then, please forward any questions to me (ruthf@ffee.org).

Our next coalition meeting will be taking place on Friday, November 16th from 8:30-10:30am at the Family League.  We look forward to sharing Grade Level Reading’s work and seeing you all there.

In Partnership,

Ruth Farfel
Program Associate
Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading

Staffing Update

We are excited to announce that we will be working closely with Danielle Torain while Angelique is on Maternity Leave. As many of you know, Danielle has been a leader in and around Baltimore for many years. Most recently, she has served as the lead on launching the Children and Youth Fund. Danielle will be working with us to ensure key projects and initiatives of the Grade Level Reading continue to move forward during Angelique’s leave. Specifically, she will oversee the advancement of our first grade work, our partnership with the Enoch Pratt Library and our Project Management Team. We are very happy to have her on board and look forward to working closely with her.

Community Spotlight

Welcome to a new feature of Newsletter: Community Spotlight! We will be highlighting one person a month to showcase the efforts of our wonderful partners. This month we are highlighting one of Grade Level Reading’s community members, Anthony Wheatley, who has supported literacy within the Govan’s community. He was the recipient of a Little Free Library, which sits right outside of his barbershop.

Anthony is originally from East Baltimore, specifically the Johnson Square Community. However, he has been living in Northeast Baltimore for 25 years. He likes being in Northeast Baltimore because it is convenient to a lot of parks and baseball fields and other open spaces, and has multiple universities close by. He wanted a Little Free Library at his barbershop because he believes education is the cornerstone of life. Prior to having the Little Free Library, Anthony always kept books in his barbershop for clients to read (he still does). The Little Free Library has allowed the whole community to have access to books. Anthony believes literacy is important for his community and all communities because the “more you know, the more you grow”. You can travel the world through reading, which means you can read, you can dream and grow. He has seen how beneficial the Little Free Library has been to his community. From the time he opens his barbershop until the time he closes, he witnesses all types of folks that stop by to check out books, from very young children to the elderly. He has promoted the Little Free Library in numerous ways including posting about it on the Barbershop Facebook page and posting about it on the Next Door app where community members have reached out to donate books. Anthony strongly believes, “when you open a book, you open your mind.”

Thank you Anthony for sharing your insights and story with Grade Level Reading. We are glad to have you in our community and so proud to have you as one of our partners.

1st Grade Work Update

Our work continues in the six focus schools (Abbottston, Armistead Gardens, Lakeland, Liberty, Matthew H. Henson, and Woodhome). Here are some of the initiatives that we will be continuing throughout the school year:

  • Connection to Enoch Pratt.  We will be coordinating two-three visits from Enoch Pratt librarians to 1st grade classrooms in our focus schools, plus at least one field trip for each school to the Pratt Library.
  • Literacy Milestones Materials. Grade Level Reading is using the information we gained from last year’s focus groups to develop digital materials and videos for families with information about their children’s literacy development and how they can best support that growth outside of the classroom. We are excited to be partnering with Wide Angle Youth Media to produce the materials.

Coalition Updates & Announcements

  • Family Literacy Night at Woodhome Elementary-Middle School took place on October 11th. Grade Level Reading provided the Family Literacy Night toolkit, which provided literacy activities for Pre-K to 3rd grade students that aligns with the City Schools curriculum. 50 families and students attended the event. Other focus schools will be conducting Family Literacy Nights in the upcoming months. If you or someone you know is interested in hosting this event, please e-mail Ruth Farfel at ruthf@ffee.org
  • Since the beginning of the school year, Grade Level Reading has on-boarded 6 new Little Free Library volunteers to restock books. We are still looking for more volunteers, please e-mail Ruth Farfel if you are interested.
  • Charm City Connection at UMBC is hosting a book drive for the Little Free Library at Pop!Farm in Southwest Baltimore. Here is the link to the GoFundMe page.
  • The Greater Mondawmin Coordinator Council is hosting a book drive to provide culturally relevant books for the Little Free Libraries at Druid Hill Park, Center for Urban Families, and Garwyn Medical Center. Contact the Greater Mondawmin Coordinating Council at 410-523-4500 if you would like to donate. The raffle will be drawn on Nov. 19th and books will be distributed in November.
  • Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises will be visiting Enoch Pratt Free Library branches to talk with students and families about reading, writing, speaking, and listening–and learning of all kinds for all ages. You can find the details here.
  • The Fund is offering school choice workshops to City Schools parents. Facilitators are needed to deliver these workshops, specifically people who are other parents who have engaged with the school choice process with their own children. Training will be provided and each facilitator is paid $100 per workshop. Please e-mail Corrie Shoenber, corries@ffee.org, if you are interested.