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Sunnyside Literacy Lab

Advancing Literacy through Natural Curiosities

$6,330
pledged of$14,000 goal
25
2Days Left
Fund it
Campaign Ends on May 31, 2024

Project Description

 

Sunnyside Literacy Lab is an after-school enrichment program that engages learners in grades 4-10. Using a small group model, we teach transferable reading and writing skills through high-engagement content.

By developing a love of reading in children, we build a limitless future for curious and committed citizens.

 

 

 

Kids are in a crisis. Families and educators need help.

Following the pandemic, student literacy has hit a historic low. 52% of New York students are considered below proficient.

In most NYC classrooms, this looks like 8th-grade students struggling with 5th-grade level texts. If students enter high school without basic reading comprehension skills, their chances of graduation decline dramatically. According to researchers, only 13% of struggling readers will catch up without intensive support.

Teachers are working hard to support students, but solutions from the federal and state levels will take years, if not decades, to implement.

While we search for system-wide solutions, parents need more immediate resources to support their children. Most services are polarized between high-end private tutoring companies or disengaging test-prep centers. The families in my community have expressed the need for affordable services that capture their children’s curiosity and guide them to fall in love with learning. We imagined Sunnyside Literacy Lab to fill that space. 

 

 

The hope we offer is grounded in research + experience.

After years of experience working with struggling readers and finding incredible success, we created a unique program that teaches the most effective literacy strategies with books kids love.

The Sunnyside Literacy Lab model provides a set of high-impact skills through texts that inspire a love of reading. Transferable skills offer learners tools to organize their thoughts. High-engagement content illustrates to learners that reading is for everyone.

For example, in the "Fiction: Magic" class, learners practice identifying and annotating key moments in texts about wizards and potions. After practicing how to annotate significant, emotional, confusing, or surprising moments in a text that captures their imagination, learners can annotate any fiction text they encounter.

In our class "Nonfiction: Animals," learners practice thinking strategies such as compare/ contrast, problem/ solution, and cause/ effect with texts about komodo dragons, goblin sharks, and killer whales. After learning these nonfiction thinking strategies, learners can apply these strategies to any nonfiction text they encounter in ELA, science, or social studies. 

The Sunnyside Literacy Lab model combines choice with direct instruction to build autonomy, wonder, and self-confidence.

In addition to our choice-based courses, we provide word study and executive functioning courses. We also offer individualized assessments so families have a data-rooted starting point for their journeys.

 

 

 

Our courses are designed with the belief that everyone is a reader. 

Struggling readers are often provided remedial workbooks and watered-down instruction. Fill-in-the-blanks and multiple-choice questions leave young people bored with school and negatively impact their academic self-confidence. 

Instead of pushing the same materials onto kids, we aim to introduce learners to their first favorite book. We all have preferences- some love mysteries, romance, or adventure. Our interest-based courses are created with the assumption that everyone is a curious thinker. By separating reading level from deep thinking, we are able to facilitate authentic conversations about books while learners gradually improve their ability to access higher-level texts. 

 

 

Our services go beyond courses, though. Through a three-pronged approach, we empower children, parents, and educators on their literacy journeys.

Our goal is to develop a community centered around education, change reading proficiency in our city, and serve as a model for improving literacy around the nation.

Teachers work in schools, but educators are all around us. Through our public education programs, we aim to eliminate barriers in access to information, so that parents, guardians, and educators of all backgrounds can learn effective strategies to support our children. 

Through our bookstore, we take reading out of the classroom and bring it to the community. Fun, family-friendly events highlight the ability of books to unite multiple generations. 

 

 

 

This business is the culmination of my life’s journey and that of my family. 

My mom invested in her own education and then used every dollar of her income to ensure my opportunities. She always told me that our gifts are not for us alone. Multiple generations of humble, curious, and committed women inspired me to become an educator and share literacy as a tool of survival in our economy and for the soul.

Books have personally brought me around the world, to multiple universes, and in conversation with people of all backgrounds and points of view. I believe in the ability of reading to transform our lives. Sunnyside Literacy Lab has been imagined as a social enterprise and community hub, a place for reading to be celebrated and nurtured. I believe in the ability of businesses to create centers of innovation that are self-sustaining and culture-shifting. With investment, Sunnyside Literacy Lab will be a success and help move the needle on literacy outcomes in our city.

I have workshopped the Sunnyside Literacy Lab model for years, but was inspired last year to take it out of schools and into the community. Since then, I have worked hard on product development by drafting our textbook, working with students privately, and soliciting feedback from educators. I expanded the business to include popular parenting workshops and one-on-one assessments to empower parents as their child’s first teacher.

I serve as the academic interventionist at a middle school in Queens, NY.  In just 4 months, my students have made an average of 1.2 years of reading progress. Some kids jumped 3-4 years in that same time!

My classes are focused and fun. Learners see that the skills are helpful and the texts are exciting. Many students read their first independent novel with me. My background as a special educator has provided me with the experience to engage all children by building their self-confidence and piquing their curiosities. 

I earned a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University and an M.S. in Adolescent Special Education from CUNY Hunter College. I am certified in the Orton-Gillingham method, a structured literacy approach to reading instruction. 

 

 

 

 

Sunnyside is the starting point for something greater.

Besides serving as an educator, I am also a grateful Sunnysider.  This community is an oasis in NYC. People from all over the world have come together to form a quarter that radiates good neighbor energy.  Sunnyside has been my home for many years, and I hope to repay the community with a social enterprise that lifts all boats, starting with our children. 

Sunnyside is a beacon in our country for a diverse, walkable, and friendly urban neighborhood. Soon, it will also be a model for community-based literacy. 

 

Thank you so much for reading. Please look at our rewards and find one that is right for you!

Updates

The Campaign FAQs

Please reach out to [email protected] if you have any questions!

 

 

Stephanie
05/12/2024
The Critical Thinker
$100
Shane Saxton
05/06/2024
The Scholar
$50
Lauren
04/29/2024
The Scholar
$50
Karen Cahn
04/22/2024
Monetary Contribution
$180
Daniel Kang
04/20/2024
The Pilot
$350
Crissy4b
04/16/2024
The Critical Thinker
$100
Lauren Cutting
04/15/2024
The Critical Thinker
$100
Lisa
04/14/2024
The Critical Thinker
$100
John Kluepfel
04/14/2024
The Critical Thinker
$100
Deb Young
04/14/2024
Monetary Contribution
$500
10.00 USD
The Reader

Thank you for supporting Sunnyside Literacy Lab!

0 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
The Critical Thinker

Do you know a child ready to make significant gains in reading? We'll send you a physical copy of our book, "Transferable Literacy Strategies for Young Readers," to help them move in the right direction.

9 Supporters
Select this reward
350.00 USD
The Pilot

Over the summer, kids lose about 20% of their annual reading progress. Ensure your child enters the school year on track with one of our engaging choice-driven 2-week summer courses in July. Instead of summer sliding, they'll be summer soaring!

3 Supporters
Select this reward
1,000.00 USD
The Explorer

We'll send you gift cards totaling $150 to our favorite Sunnyside stores and restaurants. Your afternoon in Sunnyside will be like a scavenger hunt with endless goodies, connections, and confections. This is a perfect reward for a date with yourself, your teen, or a significant other!

0 Supporters
Select this reward
2,500.00 USD
The Conversationalist

The World's Borough: Eating out in Queens is like taking an international trip. We'll send you a list of our favorite restaurants from Greece to Japan for you to choose from. Then, you'll enjoy an intimate four-course dinner for two with Anna to discuss the education landscape in NYC. Airfare not included.

1 Supporter
Select this reward
4,500.00 USD
The Visionary

This reward is for those involved with a community organization that supports youth or education. You understand the challenges we face as a society regarding literacy and want to make an impact at a large scale. We will design and lead a 90-minute professional development workshop for a community you care about. A rising tide lifts all boats; let's work together to ensure a brighter future for our children.

0 Supporters
Select this reward

About the Entrepreneur

Sunnyside, NY
Created 1 Campaign
Social Good

Rewards

10.00 USD
The Reader

Thank you for supporting Sunnyside Literacy Lab!

0 Supporters
Select this reward
100.00 USD
The Critical Thinker

Do you know a child ready to make significant gains in reading? We'll send you a physical copy of our book, "Transferable Literacy Strategies for Young Readers," to help them move in the right direction.

9 Supporters
Select this reward
350.00 USD
The Pilot

Over the summer, kids lose about 20% of their annual reading progress. Ensure your child enters the school year on track with one of our engaging choice-driven 2-week summer courses in July. Instead of summer sliding, they'll be summer soaring!

3 Supporters
Select this reward
1,000.00 USD
The Explorer

We'll send you gift cards totaling $150 to our favorite Sunnyside stores and restaurants. Your afternoon in Sunnyside will be like a scavenger hunt with endless goodies, connections, and confections. This is a perfect reward for a date with yourself, your teen, or a significant other!

0 Supporters
Select this reward
2,500.00 USD
The Conversationalist

The World's Borough: Eating out in Queens is like taking an international trip. We'll send you a list of our favorite restaurants from Greece to Japan for you to choose from. Then, you'll enjoy an intimate four-course dinner for two with Anna to discuss the education landscape in NYC. Airfare not included.

1 Supporter
Select this reward
4,500.00 USD
The Visionary

This reward is for those involved with a community organization that supports youth or education. You understand the challenges we face as a society regarding literacy and want to make an impact at a large scale. We will design and lead a 90-minute professional development workshop for a community you care about. A rising tide lifts all boats; let's work together to ensure a brighter future for our children.

0 Supporters
Select this reward