The Lackawanna County Literacy Committee is the first step in helping reach those that need it the most: ninety-five percent of all reading problems could be prevented or significantly reduced with early intervention. A child who can read by the third grade is unlikely to ever be involved with the criminal justice system. Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children.
The idea of a County-based approach came about in the Summer of 2022; the Board of Commissioners envisioned the Literacy Committee incorporating a nationally known program, “Reach Out and Read,” with local pediatricians, and incorporating that into care provided to children by the newly created County Department of Health. "Reach Out and Read" relies on doctors talking to parents about the importance of reading out loud to children and provides books as well. The Scranton Primary Health Care Center and the Wright Center have already adopted the program.
The Literacy Committee will eventually sponsor the opening of small libraries in county housing projects, creating mini-libraries in parks, distributing donated books, and incorporate screening for dyslexia at the Prison, as more than 70 percent of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.
“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.” ―Mary McLeod Bethune
The mission of the Lackawanna County Literacy Committee is to engage and educate residents on the problem of illiteracy and its detrimental impact on individuals, families, communities, and the overall health, welfare and economy of Lackawanna County. The committee, in partnership with other community organizations, will work to improve the trajectory of illiteracy in the region. The committee will advocate for change that supports best-practices in literacy to strengthen the local community.
The purpose of the Lackawanna County Literacy Committee is to establish goals that will strengthen the capacity of local communities to assist literacy initiatives, support ongoing basic education and literacy skills in grades K-12, and increase educational programming aimed at adult literacy. The committee shall support literacy education and activities for all children and adults.
Statement of Goals
The Lackawanna County Literacy Committee strives to reduce illiteracy in Lackawanna County among all age groups by promoting literacy and educational activities and by increasing access to reading material, educational resources and other information, facts and ideas that support current best practices in literacy.
In support of its goals, the committee shall work to:
Establish partnerships with Lackawanna County schools, communities, public housing authorities, public libraries, medical professionals and like organizations.
Develop literacy screenings, adult education and intervention programs in the Lackawanna County Prison.
Support, leverage and enhance existing Lackawanna County public library literacy programs and wrap-around services.
Provide literacy training for community professionals in collaboration with NEIU 19.
Collaborate with the Keystone State Literacy Association Northeast PA Chapter on initiatives and engagement with the local community and literacy professionals.
Appointed by the Lackawanna County Board of Commissioners, the Committee shall be comprised of nine members with the staggered terms of service of three committee members appointed to a two-year term; three committee members appointed to a three-year term; and three committee members appointed to a four-year term. Upon expiration of the initial appointed terms, all terms for committee members shall be for a period of four years. Members of the Committee shall continue to serve until their successors have been appointed and qualified.
The Lackawanna County Literacy Committee includes:
Dr. Sabine Charles, Clarks Summit
Traci K. Harte, Clarks Summit
Patricia Hein, Scranton
Colleen Judge, Carbondale
Sandie Lamanna, Clarks Summit
Sandra A. Longo, Throop
Atty. James Mulligan, Moosic
Donna Salva, Dalton
Lynne Shedlock, Clarks Summit
The 2023 Lackawanna County Literacy Committee will be held on the third Thursday of the month at 5:30pm, unless otherwise specified, in the Commissioners Conference Room, 123 Wyoming Ave, 5th Floor, Scranton, PA.
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