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Wisconsin 2010 Development Grant


Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee

PR Award Number:


Project Title:

The Milwaukee Community Literacy Project

Project Director:

Patricia Marcus

Amount of Award:


Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP4: Persistently Low-Performing Schools

List of Partners (with states for each):

Milwaukee Public Schools (WI)

Project Website:

Description of Project:

The Milwaukee Community Literacy Project addresses the fact that the ability to read is critical to a child's future success. According to the National Research Council, academic success, defined in terms of high school graduation, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing the student's reading skill at the end of third grade. A student who is not at least modestly skilled in reading by third grade is unlikely to graduate from high school. The program will support 300 struggling readers in kindergarten through third grade at seven Milwaukee Public Schools. It will help them reach proficiency through support in three spheres: school, community and family. The school sphere will provide a reading intervention to targeted students through one-on-one tutoring that follows a research-based structure and is provided by trained tutors. The community sphere will provide 1-hour supplementary reading sessions three times a week after school, using a project-based learning approach and providing increased independent reading time. The family sphere will include regular contact with parents and home visits to increase parents' skills in supporting their child's literacy. By addressing all three spheres, the project will help develop students' social, emotional and cognitive readiness, in addition to addressing their core needs for literacy success. In short, it will address the whole child.

The goal of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project is to demonstrate an impact on literacy skills for high-needs students by expanding the implementation of and investment in, community literacy. Specifically, the project aims to improve the reading performance of K-3 students through literacy work in each of the three spheres mentioned above. Selected participants will be in the program for a minimum of 2 years and are expected to demonstrate increased academic achievement well beyond that of students in the comparison group. The project takes on the challenge of having participants reading at grade level by the beginning of fourth grade, putting them on the path to academic success.

Description of Evaluation:

The primary method for determining program effectiveness will be the use of a randomized control trial selection framework, through which evaluators can isolate the impact of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project from the impact of endogenous family and school factors. The evaluation will also include a formative evaluation designed to ensure that fidelity of the program model is maintained and to document implementation and intermediate outcomes. The formative evaluation component will enable course corrections to program design and implementation to ensure that students and families receive a consistent and adequate "dose" of the intervention.

Project Evaluator:

Curtis Jones


Wisconsin Center for Education Research

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Last Modified: 03/22/2011