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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Heroes of the Week: SHARP Literacy Volunteers, Staff and Participating Teachers

Sharp Literacy Volunteers
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Since 1996, the nonprofit SHARP Literacy (5775 N. Glen Park Road, Suite 202) has helped to instill the love of books and reading in low-income, at-risk first-through-fifth grade students. SHARP Literacy offers a free, year-round program that utilizes visual arts to help expand a child’s vocabulary, in turn improving reading, writing, researching and verbal expression skills.

The organization offers extensive training for teachers and has created rigorous, interactive and fun lesson plans for each age group that include a trip to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Participating teachers and their students receive a class workbook (offered in English and Spanish) and the most current book in the organization’s “We Love to Learn” series, all of which are published in-house by SHARP. The organization also engages parents by offering workshops, holding a Family Achievement Recognition event at the end of each school year, and by offering after-school parent-student learning activities. In the 2012-13 school year, between 53-86% of SHARP students increased their vocabulary by at least four words and 27-75% by at least seven words (words such as “environment,” “metamorphosis” and “honeycomb”).

“Our volunteers are very important, we have such a talented staff and the teachers are the success of the program,” says Lynda Kohler, president and CEO of SHARP Literacy. “We care so much about the kids in our community and we are all here to make a difference in their lives.”

SHARP Literacy is seeking volunteer translators and those interested in helping with in-school presentations, special events and administrative tasks. Monetary donations, as well as costume jewelry and paper certificates, are appreciated. Two upcoming events: “Kids Run to Read” is a one-mile run for youth ages 6-12 held Saturday, June 14, at the Summerfest grounds; and the luncheon “A Novel Event,” to be held at the Pfister Hotel on Monday, Sept. 22, will feature Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton. For more information, contact Rachel Arbit at Rachel@sharpliteracy.org or 414-977-1768 or visit sharpliteracy.org.