Arlington Reads: Expanding Minds, Changing Lives
By Office of Communication
Posted on July 02, 2012, July 02, 2012

"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories."

-Kofi Annan

Arlington Reads is an accredited literacy program staffed by the Arlington Public Library, that addresses all levels of literacy needs within the community. According to Catherine Wilson, GED Coordinator/AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, "The goal of the program is to break the chain of illiteracy."

Children's programming also includes The Learning Zone, designed to help 1st through 3rd graders with their homework assignments, reading books, practicing writing and playing academic board games.

Reading is not the only thing on the agenda at Arlington Reads. This summer there is a free Math and Science Campoffered for 1st through 6th graders. The curriculum offers a different math or science focus each day. The goal of the camp is make students aware that science does not just take place in the lab.

Health and healthy lifestyle issues are addressed in the Fitnessita and Active Joes programs for third to fifth grade boys and girls. The focus is on the importance of fitness, nutrition, body image and language, media literacy, goal setting and other topics to help participants understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Adult literacy programs include:

  • ESL and Basic Literacy designed to teach non-readers and poor readers to read, write and understand the English language.
  • Pre-GED and GED classes are available to assist students in their preparation for the GED test. An additional online GED component is available to students to enhance classroom instruction.
  • Citizenship Preparation works with residents who wish to go through the naturalization process to become a citizen of the United States.

Because literacy truly is a family affair, many family-oriented programs and classes are offered. The new project,Books For Babies, demonstrates the importance of beginning the development of literacy skills at birth. A partnership has been formed with Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital that will provide each new baby born with a My First Library Card pack.

The Stories to Our Children program empowers parents to write their own life story sharing their experiences and cultural traditions. The gift of sharing stories can create a lasting bond across the generations.

Fighting illiteracy is a team effort. The Arlington Reads team includes the staff, volunteers, community partners and the City of Arlington all working together. Yoko Matsumoto, Library Service Manager, says, "Working with a team that understands the importance of literacy and truly believes in the work we do empowers us to step outside the norm, find solutions and make ideas become reality."

The Arlington Reads program is expanding the minds and changing the lives of children, adults, families and volunteers through the various activities, projects and classes offered.

All programs are free of charge and volunteers teach many classes. For information about programs or to find out about volunteer opportunities, call 817-460-2727 or go on-line to The Literacy House located at 101 East North Street.

By Cheryl Nason

Arlington Reads

Library, News