Empowering Volunteers with Jessica Bowersox, ED of SMART Reading

Jessica Bowersox became the Executive Director of SMART Reading in July 2022. She has been with the organization since 2010, as the Communications Director and later the Deputy Director. As a member of the organization’s executive leadership team for more than a decade, she has played an integral role in setting strategic vision for SMART and working with staff and board leadership to fulfill that vision.

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Speaking with the Co-Director of SENTENCED:  Connor Martin

Fall 2024 will mark the release of the new documentary on literacy called:  SENTENCED.  SENTENCED is an immersive and vulnerable exploration of the epidemic of childhood illiteracy through a series of braided character driven stories. Executive produced and narrated by 4x NBA basketball champion Stephen Curry, this film contributes to a movement that is designed to launch 1,000,000…

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 NYC Experts Discuss Childhood Illiteracy Crisis

Enjoy this discussion about childhood illiteracy from a panel of experts from New York City.  This conversation includes:   Josiah Haken, the CEO of City Relief;  Richard Rivera of I Have a Dream Foundation;  Michael Coppotelli, of the Archdiocese of NYC;  Mary Cantwell of Enriched NYC;  Tony Kriz, Executive Producer of SENTENCED Andy Peterson of Doxology and a producer on SENTENCED…

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Literacy for the Sake of Love and Justice with Doug Kempton

Doug has been married to Meg for 37 years. Father of four adventurous children and four (soon to be five) irresistible grandchildren. Founded Soar Detroit in 1998 serving Detroit children through sports and one on one prescription based literacy tutoring. Doug also serves as lead pastor at Grace Community church, a vibrant diverse church in the city of Detroit.

Soar Detroit provides literacy tutoring and sports to foster life-changing relationships and help kids flourish. Their long-term vision is to turn Detroit’s literacy rate upside down, promote a healthy community in the city, and see kids come to know Jesus.

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Stephanie Korteweg Takes Under-Resourced Schools From Bottom Three to Top Three

Stephanie Korteweg is the founder and former director of STARS Book clubs in Waco, TX.  Today she is on the local school board and gives her extra time to supporting national literacy movements.

Her work has been transformational in recruiting volunteers from faith communities and beyond.  Her work in impoverished schools has been incredible: schools that ranked at the bottom in literacy became district literacy leaders.

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Literacy State of the Union with Ron Fairchild

This episode enjoys the wisdom of Ron Fairchild, a well known national leader in literacy. In this wide ranging conversation, Ron shares topics as diverse as the relationship between “the zip code lottery” and literacy, the role a boxing program can have and the need for community wide solutions.

Ron Fairchild is the founder of the Smarter Learning Group. Prior to starting the firm, Ron served as CEO of the National Summer Learning Association. The Association’s work built on over 15 years of experience and success as the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, where Fairchild was executive director.
He is also Senior Consultant with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading. He is widely recognized as a national authority on how to expand learning opportunities for young people. His frequent appearances in the media include segments on NPR, CNN, C-SPAN, NBC Nightly News, and the CBS Early Show.

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Recruiting Volunteers and Navigating Church/State

Today, TKR talks with Karen Vogelsang, the Executive Director of a formidable literacy organization outside of Memphis in Shelby County. Her enthusiasm for children is only outdone by her keen mind for navigating and succeeding in recruiting an army of reading mentors.

Karen is the Executive Director of ARISE2Read. Karen taught elementary school. She holds a Masters in Elementary Education and earned National Board Certification. Karen is the 2015 Tennessee Teacher of the Year. She received fellowships at Harvard’s Project Zero, Gates Foundation, Teach Plus, and Hope Street Group.

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Poverty and Literacy with Dr. Donna M. Beegle

Dr Beegle was raised in poverty and illiterate until adulthood. Overcoming staggering odds, and the assistance of some unexpected neighbors, Donna not only escaped the cycles of generational poverty, but has since risen to become one of the world's most sought after authorities on poverty. In today's episode Tony asks Donna the connection between poverty and failing in school, specifically the layered difficulty poor children carry everyday that keeps them from the life-transforming gift of reading. Donna Beegle has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. She is an authentic voice from poverty that speaks, writes, and trains across the nation to break the iron cage of poverty for others through services provided by her company, Communication Across Barriers (CAB). Since 1989, she has traveled throughout hundreds of cities in all 50 states and four countries to assist professionals with proven strategies for breaking poverty barriers. State agencies, politicians, and other organizations have partnered with her to implement community-wide approaches to improving outcomes for citizens in poverty. She has been featured internationally, on CNN and is the subject of an upcoming PBS documentary.

Dr Beegle was raised in poverty and illiterate until adulthood. Overcoming staggering odds, and the assistance of some unexpected neighbors, Donna not only escaped the cycles of generational poverty, but has since risen to become one of the world’s most sought after authorities on poverty.

In today’s episode Tony asks Donna the connection between poverty and failing in school, specifically the layered difficulty poor children carry everyday that keeps them from the life-transforming gift of reading.

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 Lucy Becomes a Mentor

Some of the best literacy stories are about everyday citizen-neighbors who learn the power of reading and want to help in some small and tangible way. Today, Tony talks to Lucy Martin about her journey to become a reading buddy near her home in Southern California.

Some of the best literacy stories are about everyday citizen-neighbors who learn the power of reading and want to help in some small and tangible way.

Today, Tony talks to Lucy Martin about her journey to become a reading buddy near her home in Southern California.

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Starting a Literacy Program from Scratch

On this week’s podcast, Tony is joined by Anna Paul, the Director of a less than two year old literacy program based in Clark County, Washington called, Read Northwest. Their slogan is, “Word by Word, Life by Life.”

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