Youth & Teen Literacy Program
In 2013, the Nehemiah Project staff and board began to see the inability to proficiently read as a major hurdle to education and employment for youth placed in our facility. The lack of reading skills is a harbinger of difficulty in life and we set out to determine how we could rectify those deficits. The outcome of those discussion was to develop a literacy program at the Nehemiah Project is an initiative to determine a resident’s reading ability and to address, through direct instruction, deficits in all areas of reading ability.
We partnered with Cardinal Stritch University’s literacy program which provides in-depth readin ability assessments, allowing instructors to pin-point specific reading deficiencies and target instruction to those deficiencies, maximizing a student’s ability to succeed. Together, we collaborated with St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care and opened a literacy center there in 2014. In 2021, the center was moved to Pathways High School on Milwaukee’s West Side where it serves Nehemiah Youth as well as a other youth in the community.
By addressing a child’s ability to read, we also address their ability to be engaged in their life pursuits. A person’s ability to be educated and employed hinges on their ability to communicate in the most basic way. Many of the youth that have benefited from the literacy training have increased their reading skills by significant amounts- some adding 2-3 grade levels of ability and comprehension.