Category Archives: Newsletter

2015-16 Program Reports: Stronger Together

WITS student reads with his mentor, WITS teacher instructs classroom.

Dear WITS Community,

One year ago, Boundless Readers and its renowned Rochelle Lee Teacher Award (RLTA) program was merged into WITS. The vision for the merge was to bring together teacher professional development and volunteer literacy mentorship to create a comprehensive program model that drives literacy advancement and a love of reading in students through whole school support. As separate organizations, WITS and RLTA programs supported students through advancing literacy skills and developing a positive mindset toward learning. Evaluation for the first year since the merge shows that the WITS and RLTA programs are stronger together. The integrated program model deepens our students’ attitudes toward reading and strengthens our communities of volunteers, teachers and principals.

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Volunteering as a group with WITS

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WITS makes giving back easy. By delivering and matching students with volunteers, WITS provides structure that focuses program time on building relationships and sharing stories. WITS reaches over 800 students in the Mid-Day Mentoring, Workplace Mentoring, and WITS on Campus programs each year. Bea Farmer and Randy Perillo, lead volunteers from BP, shared insights from their experience partnering with WITS to encourage other groups to consider joining the WITS team.

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Becoming a Reader Institute Recap by Julianne Demmel, RLTA Alumni

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I first heard about the Rochelle Lee Teacher Award (RLTA) from a colleague during my first year of teaching. She had a classroom library any veteran teacher would be envious of and she was well-versed on all things literacy. Needless to say, she was a wonderful mentor to have when I was planning for my literacy block. As time progressed, I learned that much of her knowledge surrounding literacy came from the professional development workshops she participated in through RLTA. I decided I must be a part of this program to better myself as an educator, and I applied and was accepted the following year.

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WITSummer Early Childhood Program: Volunteer Experience

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Maureen McInerney volunteered with the WITSummer Early Childhood program at Jordan Elementary in Rogers Park. She read with young scholars entering kindergarten three days a week in the library center. Below, Maureen shares about her experience with WITS and highlights of the program. Thank you Maureen for being a truly outstanding volunteer!

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WITSummer Early Childhood Program

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WITS Summer Early Childhood is back! On Tuesday, July 5th the WITS staff and volunteer team kicked off programs at six Chicago Public School sites – McClellan Elementary, Walsh Elementary, McCutcheon Elementary, Jordan Elementary, and DeDiego Elementary. Together, we are supporting Kindergarten readiness through themed read-alouds, art projects, dramatic play, and writing activities.

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Illinois Lottery Shares Summer Reading

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To share the joy of summer reading, the Illinois Lottery recently partnered with WITS to sponsor the WITSummerbooks program. Since learning can sometimes “take a back seat” to other activities while school is out of session, the Illinois Lottery hopes to encourage young people to incorporate reading into their summer fun through their support of the WITSummer Books program.

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Volunteer in the WITS Early Childhood Summer Program!

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WITS is seeking volunteers for our Early Childhood Summer Program, which helps ensure students enter Kindergarten ready to succeed! In this five week program, volunteers will work with students one on one and in small groups to explore fairy tales through engaging activities intended to inspire curiosity and boost emerging literacy skills. For more information please contact WITS’ Volunteer Coordinator, Annie Kennedy- anniek@witschicago.org.

Corporate Focus: GCM Grosvenor and Cook Books

Friday, June 10th at 9:45AM

It is a Friday morning unlike any other.

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Nearly 150 third, fourth, and fifth grade students file into the auditorium at Cook Elementary, the hallway buzzing with excited energy. Students greet WITS staff and GCM Grosvenor volunteers with bright smiles, high fives, and even hugs as they pass through the halls. Some ogle the tables stacked high with hundreds of orange tote bags, exclaiming in eager awe, “It’s WITS!”

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