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Empowering Young Men with a Literary Voice

by Alicia Reyes on 2019-01-07T10:55:00-08:00 | Comments

Write to Read is an award-winning literacy program that is closing the gaps in reading comprehension levels among teens who reside at Camp Wilmont Sweeney. Teens make extraordinary gains in reading comprehension, improving by up to six grade levels. The program is making a world of difference, empowering young men with literacy skills to reach their full potential.

Teens present and recite their own original poems at a graduation ceremony held every year. Here’s a poem from this year’s anthology of poetry, “A Trail for Others to Follow.”  

Struggle by Rudy, age 17  

One day there will be no more struggle.

I made it.

The wheels in my brain will grind furiously against one another trying to remember the pain from a distant past.   

I’ve tried so hard to constantly move forward but an anchor tries to keep my feet planted. Now I drag the anchor along with ease leaving a trail for others to follow.

Teens depart the Write to Read program scoring at reading comprehension levels that give them the confidence and opportunity to tackle high-school level reading and pursue education and employment goals.

About Write to Read at Camp Wilmont Sweeney

Write to Read is a literacy program of the Alameda County Library in collaboration with the Alameda County Probation Department and the Alameda County Office of Education. 

Many people define literacy as an individual skill. Write to Read broadens this definition by locating literacy as a social practice in our community and necessary to make society itself more just and equitable. Our philosophy is grounded in participatory educational approaches. We believe that knowledge is not a commodity housed in a book. We create knowledge through dialogue with others, through our relationship with the text in books, through our writing and responses from others, and through actions to make the world a better place.

Write to Read provides 50 or more Camp Wilmont Sweeney residents with literacy instruction in small groups and one-on-one tutorials. Camp Wilmont Sweeney, a transitional facility in the Alameda County Probation Department, provides rehabilitative services to young men who range in age from 15-18. Camp Wilmont Sweeney houses up to 90 young residents for an average of 7-12 months.

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