Cuyahoga County: Literacy program seeing results

5:06 PM, Mar 28, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The Literacy Cooperative has received and analyzed data measuring the first year pilot of SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids) in Cuyahoga County and the results are very promising.

As part its mission to improve lives by enhancing literacy, The Literacy Cooperative is piloting SPARK in selected communities in Cuyahoga County as a model for increasing early childhood literacy and school-readiness.

SPARK is an in-home tutoring program that links children and parents in at-risk communities with a Parent Partner who guides the child and parent through a proven curriculum and also serves as a resource, providing parents with ways to incorporate learning into daily home activities. Parent Partners also help connect children and families to resources they may need.

The Literacy Cooperative collaborates with Invest in Children and Family Connections to offer SPARK in partnership with elementary schools in the Maple Heights, Cleveland Heights-University Heights and Cleveland school districts.

The schools that participated in the first year of SPARK Cuyahoga are Boulevard, Noble, and Oxford Elementary Schools in Cleveland Heights; Raymond Elementary School in Maple Heights; and Michael R. White, Clark, and Clara Westropp Elementary Schools in Cleveland.

SPARK results are measured in a number of ways.

First, the results of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment - Literacy (KRA-L), a literacy readiness assessment given to all Ohio children prior to or shortly after their entrance to kindergarten, were compared for children that had participated in SPARK versus those who had not.  KRA-L scores fall into three bands: children in Band 1 (scores 0-13) require intense instruction; children in Band 2 (scores 14-23) need targeted instruction; and children in Band 3 (scores 24-29) are considered ready for kindergarten.

2011 SPARK Cuyahoga children, who attained an average score of 19.3, scored statistically significantly higher then their non-SPARK peers, who scored an average of 16.5.  SPARK children are more likely to be ready for kindergarten than their non-SPARK peers.

Children in Cleveland were four times more likely to be prepared for kindergarten after participating in SPARK, and their parents were more likely to have enriching materials in their homes too.  

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