The Rapidian

Literacy Center hosts Summit to address literacy in West Michigan

The Community Literacy Summit will connect those who are passionate about improving literacy for all ages.
Underwriting support from:

Community Literacy Initiative

The Community Literacy Initiative(CLI) is a literacy coalition that seeks to empower community leaders, parents, and residents to improve literacy for all ages in West Michigan.

CLI will coordinate an Annual Literacy Summit, post an online Literacy Provider’s Directory, develop a common literacy measurement system, collect and report literacy data to the community and provide forums for sharing resources and learning from one another.

CLI is funded by the WK Kellogg Foundation and the Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation. The coalition is focusing its pilot year on the Central and West Hope Zone neighborhoods, expanding to the South and East Hope Zone neighborhoods in 2013, and using the neighborhood model as it expands to all of West Michigan.

The Literacy Center of West Michigan’s Community Literacy Initiative will host a Community Literacy Summit to address low literacy in West Michigan and highlight current efforts in the community to improve the issue. The Summit will take place on Wednesday, September 19 at the Eberhard Center on the campus of Grand Valley State University, 301 W. Fulton St, Grand Rapids. Mayor George Heartwell and Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal are among the literacy advocates that will participate in the Summit.

The Summit will feature workshops on reading, workplace literacy, cultural competency, English as a Second Language and many other topics related to literacy. The Hon. Barbara O’Brien, former Lt. Governor of Colorado, and Anneshia Freeman, creator and director of The Lies That Bind® program, will deliver keynote addresses that will bring awareness to low literacy and factors that contribute to the issue. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to sign the Right to Literacy Scroll, which has received over 40,000 signatures across the country, including world renowned author and poet Maya Angelou and First Lady Barbara Bush.

Over 700 million people around the world cannot read or write at a functional level. The low literacy rate in Kent County is estimated to be as high as 14%. Thousands of residents in the Grand Rapids community read below the 9th grade level, which studies have shown subjects them to poverty, unemployment and poor health at a higher rate than residents who can read above the 9th grade level.

Registration for the Community Literacy Summit is $20.00 and can be obtained by going to the event invitation or contacting Lindsay McHolme at the Literacy Center of West Michigan at (616)459-5151. 

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