United Way Grant Launches New Teacher Strategies

Birmingham Literacy GroupBetter Basics, The Birmingham Education Foundation and United Way of Central Alabama recently launched The Birmingham Literacy Group, a resource for Birmingham City teachers to connect, network and learn about reading strategies for their classrooms.

The Birmingham Literacy Group was made possible through a $10,000 Advancement Fund grant from United Way of Central Alabama.  Advancement funds are intended to provide short-term planning, start-up or seed funds that lay the groundwork for the achievement of programs in line with the objectives of the Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama, a United Way supported initiative.

“We are pleased to be a catalyst organization in this initiative that will support our Bold Goals objectives to provide the necessary support for all students to be proficient in reading,” said Drew Langloh, President & CEO, United Way of Central Alabama.

“This first of its kind literacy resource group has been created specifically for the support and empowerment of a core group of Birmingham City School educators,” said Kristen Leonard, director of program services at Better Basics. “The Birmingham Literacy Group is designed to provide area educators with research-proven techniques to improve the literacy skills of the children they teach. We believe in our teachers and look forward to helping them make a difference in our community for months and years to come.”

One Monday every month, participating 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade Birmingham City teachers will receive free resources such as books and hear from well-known guest speakers while sharing successful strategies for teaching literacy skills to their students. The first guest speaker at the launch was J.W. Carpenter, Executive Director of the Birmingham Education Foundation.

“I’m looking forward to taking some things back to my classroom and trying them, and coming back with the results,” said Dydrea Pittman, a first-grade teacher at Brown Elementary. “I’m really happy with the program thus far.”

For the January meeting, teachers received a copy of The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Serravallo as well as the children’s book Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Teachers will receive a new book each month as well as copies of the previous months’ picks for members.

“It’s very inspirational, it’s nice that we have allies in Birmingham that care about our district and that we do struggle with illiteracy and that we can’t catch up by ourselves,” said Laura-Michael Sellers, another Birmingham elementary school teacher.

If you have questions about the Birmingham Literacy Group, contact Kristen Leonard at kleonard@betterbasics.org

If you want to learn about the Bold Goals Coalition and the progress in education in Central Alabama, visit boldgoals.org/education/