There are children in every school system who are struggling – most of them with reading. The Church can easily address that need. Teachers do their best to address the needs of their students, but with 20 or more of them in each class, it is impossible to give individualized attention. Most schools welcome volunteers’ help in addressing this skill which is foundational for all other learning, for they are well aware of the need.
With COVID-19, children and teachers are both struggling more as they adjust to teaching online. One of the amazing characteristics of God, however, is that whenever there is a need, He is able to meet it, and He gets the honor. Let us prepare, then, as the body of Christ to help both the children and teachers who now have even greater challenges than they had just a few months ago.
The Scope of the Need for Literacy Missions
To document the need, allow me to share the Georgia Department of Education’s post on their website of the fact that statewide (the information is also available by school system as well as individual schools), 27% of third graders are reading below grade level. Click here to view the summary from July 26, 2019.
Why the focus on the third grade? It is the last year that the children will be learning to read. Starting in the fourth grade, children will be reading to learn. If their skills are inadequate, they are likely to fall behind in every academic area, since each area requires reading to learn.
Did you know that though a child may attend school, he or she stands a good chance of becoming an illiterate adult if his or her parents are illiterate?
The influence of parents and guardians is significant! You might think, “Surely, there aren’t many illiterate Americans today!” Take a look at this website that lists the illiteracy rates among Georgia’s counties. According to the County Health Ranking & Roadmaps report (which measures illiteracy), 30 out of Georgia’s 159 counties are at least 25% illiterate. That’s one out of four people!
Literacy determines prison beds.
When searching the internet for the relationship between literacy and crime, there were several articles mentioning that Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana and Texas’ penal systems determine the number of prison beds and cells they will need ten years out based on the third or fourth grade reading scores!
Church, let’s help our academically struggling children know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and that the Lord created them for good works (Ephesians 2:10)! What an opportunity to make an academic and spiritual difference in their young lives, and very possibly in the lives of their parents.
Georgia Baptist Literacy Missions offers two options for addressing the academic needs of children:
- The Tutoring Children & Youth (TCY) ministry which prepares a team of trained tutors to help children on the church campus with their academic needs
- The ReadGeorgia ministry which prepares a team of tutors to address the reading skills of struggling second graders on a school campus, and then provide the spiritual influence through a weekly “Good News Club” after school hours on the school campus, or through a quarterly “Good News Celebration” on the church campus
Please take a moment to become acquainted with the “Tutoring Children & Youth (TCY) workshop manual’s table of contents to read the list of skills that are taught during the training, by CLICKING HERE; and then peruse the logistics of TCY ministry by CLICKING HERE.
For more information, please contact Paulette DeHart at firstname.lastname@example.org.