Izzy is a first-grader at Jose Ortega Elementary School in San Francisco. When he started kindergarten last year, he didn’t know his ABCs. His parents wanted to help, but they weren’t sure what they could do, or how to start.
Then, the family learned that through a partnership with the Masons of California, Izzy’s class would be participating in the award-winning Raising A Reader Literacy program. The family was thrilled when they learned that each week, Izzy would be sent home with a backpack filled with high-quality books. And they soon learned that they would be an important part of Izzy’s success: Raising A Reader’s foundation is a focus on family engagement.
Soon, Lilli, Izzy’s mom, was going to school too, learning how to help her son during parent-focused workshops. Raising A Reader taught her how reading with Izzy was the best way to help him learn to read – even if her language skills weren't perfect. And, in addition to helping with literacy, Raising A Reader staff explained, the process of reading together would strengthen their parent-child bond.
Thanks to Raising A Reader and the California Masons who helped Izzy access the program, Izzy’s family adopted reading habits that will empower him the rest of his life.
“Now I make time to sit and read with my son,” says Lilli. “When he comes home from school, he’s so excited to snuggle up on the couch and read these books over and over.”
Seven months after starting Raising A Reader, Izzy’s school hosted a Public Schools Month event. At the event, Izzy read aloud – beaming with pride – from a speech he’d written: “Last night I told my mom, ‘Tonight you’re not going to read to me. I’m going to read to you.’”
Throughout the state, and particularly in vulnerable communities, families need tools and guidance to help their children learn to read. By supporting literacy, California Masons are breaking a cycle of illiteracy and making a difference for thousands of children.
Can California children count on you? Be a hero for a child like Izzy. Make a gift today at freemason.org/give.
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