Insight With Beth Ruyak

Hosted By Beth Ruyak

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Mapping Literacy Across Sacramento

The Sacramento Public Library Foundation has recently launched a new project designed to identify where literacy resources are needed most in Sacramento County. The Sacramento County Community Literacy Map looks at students’ reading scores at individual schools and also locates literacy providers and libraries.

The Fifth Annual Walk4Literacy, presented in part by the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, is on Saturday, Oct. 20.

April Javist, executive director of the Sacramento Public Library Foundation, joined Insight host Beth Ruyak to discuss the project. You can read highlights from their discussion below.

Interview Highlights

On the scope of the undertaking

What we decided to do as a group was to measure literacy by public schools. So everything is related to the school and is at the school level. What we did first was we took the [English Language Arts test] scores … and we laid them into this map. So that tells you how many kids at each school are at grade-level reading and how many kids are not. And we made that into a heat map so we could really just start to see the hot spots — where are the hot spots in Sacramento? Where are kids really at the most deficit? Then we mapped the libraries so we could see where each of them were, we mapped each of the [literacy] providers — volunteers can use this to get volunteer opportunities, parents can use this to see if their school has anything going on that they might not know about.

On what the literacy map shows

This is a picture of where kid are reading and where kids are not reading. And it’s also a picture of … really nowhere are kids reading a lot. There’s nowhere that kids are reading at 95 percent rate. That’s a problem. Nowhere. You can’t find that on this map. Every school is impacted by this not reading. Everybody has room for improving, I think that’s an important part of the message. And some areas need more help than others.

On the mission of the project

The big picture is policy. How are we going to create policy around literacy? So there has been some talk about maybe starting a literacy commission. I like that. You have to be able to read to participate in our society, in our democracy. You just do. It’s becoming a mandate.

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