Words on the Street is a writing and literacy program that brings the resources of educational, corporate and media entities to bear while harnessing the power of the people who matter most – parents. Research indicates that parental involvement remains a strong predictor of educational success, but parents can’t do it alone, so we’ve assembled a dynamic team to help. Our local and national partners include the Knight Foundation, the Verizon Foundation, Art Sanctuary, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Clear Channel Radio, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, the School District of Philadelphia’s Parent University, and Minotaur Books.
Our goal is to improve reading scores for all students, but for black male high school students in particular. The statistics tell us why.
According to a Schott Foundation study, only 10 percent of black male 8th graders were reading at or above proficiency in 2011. That’s 25 percent below the number of white males reading at or above proficiency. At the national level in 2009-2010, only 52 percent of black male students were graduating high school on time. We can and must do better.
The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050, about 50 percent of the U.S. population will be African American, Hispanic, or Asian. This demographic shift indicates that the academic performance of students of color must be addressed if America is to compete globally.
Bestselling author Solomon Jones will facilitate student/parent workshops that teach the elements of story. A curriculum based on Jones’s novel, The Last Confession, will reinforce these lessons while also examining the impact of life choices such as violence vs. forgiveness. Participants will improve their critical thinking skills and create their own stories, the best of which will be published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In addition, the participating school whose reading scores improve most will be mentioned in Jones’s next novel.
Want to be involved? Suggest the program to your local high school or school district, or contact Solomon directly.