By Cyrus Armajani
What do we mean by literacy?
Many people define literacy as an individual skill. Write to Read, an award-winning literacy program of Alameda County Library, 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.
What is Write to Read?
Write to Read is a collaborative effort with Alameda County Office of Education and Alameda County Probation Department. Over the course of three four-month sessions, Write to Read provides 50 or more youth who are incarcerated at Camp Wilmont Sweeney with literacy instruction in small groups and one-on-one tutorials. Camp Sweeney, a transitional facility in the Probation Department, provides rehabilitative services to young men who range in age from 15-18. Camp Sweeney houses up to 90 young residents for an average of 7-12 months.
How does Write to Read implement our definition of literacy?
Write to Read uses reading and writing as tools to examine social, economic, and political situations in life. Using multiple approaches to reading and writing, we encourage questioning and discussion as a form of literacy development. Through the creative inclusion of written texts, guest speakers, and multi-media, participants explore such issues as personal identity, decision-making, structural racism, and movements for social justice.
Coming soon. . .
The Poet’s Corner – featuring poems written by Write to Read students!