To learn about existing literacy programs and partnerships and to better understand barriers to early literacy building, we engaged deeply with communities in, and around Coos Bay, Oregon. Beginning in May 2014, we worked closely with the Oregon Coast Community Action Agency, Head Start, Coos Bay School District and Southwestern Oregon Community College to convene parents, community partners and education leaders.
The county has many families experiencing poverty and residents often feel isolated from services and supports. Coos County is also home to the Coquille Tribe, The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, as well as a growing Hispanic community. Through the stORytime initiative we set out to better understand both real and perceived barriers families experience in helping their children with early literacy building. Through a series of community conversations spanning months we engaged the community in helping us determine how communication to, and engagement with families about literacy building can alleviate barriers and be both regionally and culturally specific.
On October 22nd, we’ll be launching stORytime at an event that brings together kindergarteners from the Coos Bay, North Bend and Reedsport School Districts, community and education leaders, local businesses, libraries and elected officials for a celebration at Southwestern Oregon Community College. The event will build excitement for students, empower families and challenge the community to come together to put local students on a path to lifelong success by helping to ensure they are reading proficiently by third grade.