More than 100 people attended the COA Youth & Family Centers first Family Literacy Summit, featuring literacy-building workshops and activities for parents and children.
The event took place at the Goldin Center, 2320 W. Burleigh St., in the Amani neighborhood.
“Statistics show that Milwaukee is near the bottom as it relates to fourth-grade and eighth- grade reading scores nationally,” said Andre Goode, community-based program director at COA Youth & Family Centers.
“If nothing else, we did … shine a light on something we should take seriously, and literacy is very important,” he said.
The idea came to Goode as he was looking for ways to provide more literacy support to parents and their children. He, along with several MPS elementary school principals, began planning for the summit in January.
Parent workshops focused on ways to increase engagement in their children’s literacy development and education, along with adult literacy. For children, there were workshops on literacy strategies, ways to maintain reading skills throughout the summer, problem solving and teamwork. Bilingual workshops for elementary and high school students also were available.
Leslie Woodruff, a staff member at COA Youth & Family Center, participated in the summit.
“I think it’s a fabulous opportunity for families. I think it’s important for people to find out what opportunities are available for them and their children, especially in terms of literacy,” Woodruff said.
Bridget Robinson attended the event with her 14-year old daughter, who attended a poetry workshop led by writer and artist Dasha Kelly.
“She was a big fan of the workshop,” said Robinson, who added that her daughter enjoyed the opportunity to do some writing at the event.
Robinson liked that the summit was for the entire family. “It was something that you could take your children to, mom, dad and grandparents and collectively have an invested interest in reading.”
Riverside High School’s Poetry Slam state champions performed during lunch.
Goode said he was pleased with how the summit was received. “The workshops were very strong and we got really good feedback from everyone who participated. We would absolutely like to do this again next year.”