Posted on Feb 10, 2021
Our presenter on February 10th was Alister Chang.  Alister spoke to us about Working to Advance Literacy. (With assists from Nancy Riker and Willian Dent from DC Rotary Club and Cindy Eggleton from Brilliant Detroit. Pictured below.).
Mr. Chang is a literacy educator, researcher, and advocate.  He is a member of the DC Rotary Club and is on the DC State Board of Education.
His presentation began with a video about Wash and Learn pop-up learning programs in Detroit laundromats. Through an organization called Libraries
Without Borders, laundromats partner with local libraries, where librarians supply books and computers, read to the children, and do arts and crafts.  Wash & Learn in Detroit - YouTube
Mr. Chang’s idea is to promote literacy in creative ways.  Books, teachers, and a curriculum are all necessary, but there also needs to be outreach and relevancy.  The programs must appeal to the children/parents, and it has to meet them where they are and when they are available.  It can’t just be structured times at the local library. 
The DC Club is fortunate to have a trust fund to fund their activities, one of which is the annual handing out of dictionaries to every third-grade student in Washington D.C.   They are hand deliver at the schools which allows the teachers to incorporate them into their lesson plans.  Often, this is the first book these children have ever received so they are very excited.
The most effective way to bring children to grade-level reading is through one-on-one tutoring.  The ideal situation is ½ hour sessions, 2-3 days a week.  The DC Club is looking to work with an organization called Reading Partners to match Club members with students.