Literacy is making the headlines as we go back to school
As Beyond Basics gets ready to go back to school, literacy is making headlines again in the news. Although the news isn’t good, we are glad to see this crisis get the attention it deserves. We can see the frustration building and signs it has reached a boiling point.
We get children reading in record time; so what makes illiteracy a crisis? The sheer number of children who need our help. In Detroit, 90 percent of students aren’t reading at grade level with similar percentages across the state and nation. Illiteracy in struggling communities has run rampant for decades.

From the frontlines at Beyond Basics, we see the magnitude of the problem. Children who are two or more grade levels behind in reading do not get the intensive care they need in school to be successful. They show up to school every day expecting the instruction they get will make all the difference in their lives. Instead they get passed along.

What happens if we don’t teach children to read?
Children who can’t read have a future with very few options. If you can’t read, you are essentially locked out of an education. And without an education, your choices in life become much more limited and the consequences more dire — the street, prison or at minimum a hard life with limited potential. The cycle of illiteracy continues because illiterate children grow up to be illiterate adults.
Creating a sense of urgency
In America, we do an amazing job at helping people who are victims of a natural disaster far from home. But we also need to help victims in our own backyard, those who are suffering from manmade disasters that occur over time, like a failing educational system.

When the hurricane hit a few years ago in Houston, our hearts were moved and together we urgently gave our time and resources to help. Doctors, nurses, firemen and police gave their all, but there was just too much to do; they needed help. Our community leaders and neighbors rallied together to make a difference.

The literacy crisis is not much different. The teachers can definitely educate children and teach them to read. Teachers are the heroes in this crisis since they show up daily, in these struggling communities, to do their best on behalf of children. There are just too many children who have already fallen behind for them to do this alone. These children need individual attention and instruction to get them on track so they can succeed.

In a natural disaster we lead with our hearts and act quickly, but with this crisis we judge and blame. Once we lead with our hearts and embrace solutions that are right in front of us, we will help those who have suffered way too long.

Today, the children in our city and nation can’t read. But that doesn’t have to be our nation’s legacy. We have a solution. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get started. Together we can get this done. It will be life changing for all of us.
Click here to see literacy articles in the news:   
The Midwest Education Trust issued a press release recently after the latest M-STEP results were issued by the Michigan Department of Education.
Rather than look at increasing the base amount of education funding across the state as suggested by a recent report issued by the Michigan School Finance Collaborative , let’s provide intensive reading tutoring to help our children learn to read so that the education dollars spent each year going forward are used wisely. This approach would go much further in providing education equity for high-poverty students.
Literacy lawsuit – Illiteracy is a national epidemic, yet the nation’s eyes are on the city of Detroit. The city recently made national news when the 2016 lawsuit filed on behalf of several Detroit students and their families sought to prove a constitutional right of access to literacy was dismissed . The case is on appeal, but their efforts serve as a wake-up call, a form of public protest, a desperate humanitarian cry, that it’s time to demand change.
Joy Road is the journey Pam Good began that has led to Beyond Basics. It all started when she took Exit 9 to Joy Road years ago to help out at a school in Detroit.
Steve Tattum Leads Tutor Training
It’s back-to-school time again and school is starting up, which means Beyond Basics is busy with training our tutors! This year, we invited Steve Tattum  to lead the way. Steve is the creator of the F.A.S.T program that we weave into our curriculum, so it was great to have him teach it to our staff, first hand! He stayed in town for five days and worked alongside our new and seasoned tutors. Check out photos from the training and a video from Steve, himself so you can hear from him first-hand about what he thinks of the way Beyond Basics has used his program! We got an opportunity to sit down with Steve and get his thoughts on how we’ve weaved his program into our curriculum.
Comerica Bank Partners with Beyond Basics to Support Literacy
Comerica Bank and Beyond Basics today announced their partnership for the Detroit Lions 2018 season to support literacy programs for students in Detroit Public Schools.

For every first down the Lions make at a home game during the regular season, Comerica Bank will donate $100 to Beyond Basics to support their programs and operations. Lions fans can also get involved with a social media contest on Comerica’s Facebook page for a chance to win game tickets.

“Reading is such a vital part of every student’s education and growth, and it needs to be nurtured,” said Michael Cheatham, vice president and contributions manager for Comerica Bank’s Michigan Market. “Organizations like Beyond Basics provide a vital service in helping children develop a love of reading as they grow. This turns students into lifelong learners and helps them prepare for the rest of their lives.”

“We’re happy to receive support from Comerica as we work to help kids develop into avid readers,” said Pamela Good, executive director and president, Beyond Basics. “Reading is so vital to success, and it needs to be a major focus for every child.”

To promote the program and Beyond Basics, Comerica Bank is hosting a social media contest on Facebook where Lions fans can win tickets to regular season home games. Fans can follow Comerica’s Facebook page and guess the number of first downs the Lions will have in the next home game. The winning guess will receive two tickets to the following game. All entries must be made by kick-off of the previous game, with winners chosen following the release of the official first down total.

See You at the October 17 Fundraiser for Opening of the Family Literacy Center!
On October 17, 2018, we will be hosting an event to raise money for the opening of our very first Family Literacy Center, at the Durfee Innovation Society. The Center will be a hub for children and adults who need reading tutoring, resume writing assistance, and SAT and GED Prep. Our focus will be on individuals between the ages of 16-24, who need our help to enter the workforce. We’ll also be working in conjunction with Life Remodeled to potentially provide tutored adults with apprenticeships or jobs.

We hope you can attend this joyous occasion! Please join us on October 17 at 3:30 p.m. Guests will receive a tour of the building and the Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center upon arrival. We are also still seeking sponsors who will have their names engraved in our Founders Plaque according to their level of giving. Don’t miss your opportunity to be a pioneer for Family Literacy! 
Help Us Choose Our International Art & Writing Theme!
Every year we select a theme for our International Art & Writing Project! Once our themes are selected staff and volunteers help students write a few paragraphs on what the theme means to them. In addition, the students are tasked with creating a painting that showcases how they visually feel about the theme. This year five countries will be participating in our Art initiative -- Brazil, Germany, Hungary, Israel, South America, and United States of America.

This year we want YOU to help us make the decision! Below we’ve included a link that allows you to vote for our theme. Please take a second and choose your favorite and feel free to share it with your network to get their opinion as well! The winning theme will be announced soon!
Thirkell Teacher's Thoughts on Beyond Basics
“… I think it is a wonderful, fantastic program. I remember when I first came to the school I didn’t know anything about Beyond Basics and I was just a little annoyed that they were taking the students out at first. But then when I saw the progress of the students after so many weeks, I just began to say take them, take them, take them. Now my students are doing so much better in their reading. I especially enjoy the fact that they do the publishing center where they take all of their writing and they go and write these little books. It is a just such an exciting thing. I definitely support this program. Thank you.”
Thank you for your great support Mrs. Jackson! We love working with your students and look forward to helping more children this school year!
Your donation will help change lives.
Contact Kelly Gray at (248) 250-9304x110