Early Literacy Program

Helping Children and Youth Achieve Their Potential

Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. All of our children, from infancy to young adulthood, need nurturing, support and opportunities to succeed in school and life in order to reach their full potential. Children who receive a quality education are more likely to graduate from high school and are better prepared for the workforce.

Why focus on early childhood literacy?
Getting students off to a good start sets the course to ensure they graduate from high school.  We know that there are great number of children in the Alum Rock Union School District who are falling behind in reading early on in elementary school, and consequently less likely to have positive education outcomes. We are investing in educational programs and initiatives in this area to increase child literacy rates, help close the achievement gap, provide parents and caregivers with critical skills, and ensure students build the critical skills needed to succeed in school and life.

Why is this important?
Children who experience quality early learning opportunities perform better in elementary school and beyond.  Children that fall behind in reading by 3rd grade usually do not catch up and are likely to drop out of high school. Poor academic achievement affects individuals and communities.

View education whitepaper

Why focus on the Alum Rock Union School District in East San Jose?

  • Within Santa Clara County, Alum Rock Union School District is a large school district and has many students identified as being in need of quality early learning opportunities.
  • Nearly three-quarters of children are not meeting grade level expectations for literacy upon entering kindergarten in the Alum Rock Union School District.
  • According to the California Standardized Testing and Reporting Results, only 43% of third graders in the Alum Rock Union School District scored at the Proficient or Advanced level for English-Language Arts in the year 2010-2011. Among these third graders, only 25% of English Language Learners scored as Proficient or Advanced.

How is United Way Silicon Valley addressing this issue?
United Way Silicon Valley supports a variety of programs and activities in elementary schools in this geographic area. The Yes We Can…Read!™ Children’s Initiative is one of those efforts. It reflects a collaboration between United Way Silicon Valley, Grail Family Services, Alum Rock Union School District, San José Public Library, and other local community partners to support young children’s literacy development and later academic achievement in East San José.

Learn more about The Yes We Can…Read!™ Program

Volunteer as a Reading Mentor
Donate your time and expertise to work with children. We can help you find great opportunities to make a difference. Volunteer to become a Reading Mentor.  Together we can make our community stronger by ensuring our children reach their fullest potential.

View other education volunteer opportunities

Contact: Pearl Cheng, 408-345-4390.

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