KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Kansas City middle school teacher, says she wasn’t comfortable sending students on to high school, knowing that they couldn’t read.

So, she decided to do something about it.

Now she’s on a mission to end illiteracy in the metro by 2030.

Catina Taylor, owner and founder of Dreams Consulting KC, was an educator in the public and private school sector for more than 15 years.

“We should be setting up children for success to be productive contributing members of society,” Taylor said.

For Taylor the fundamental ABC’s of literacy is important.

“We know that literacy affects health outcomes, employment, incarceration rates,” she said.

It is now her dream and mission to end illiteracy in Kansas City.

“I noticed that I had middle school students attempting to go to high school reading on 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade reading levels,” Taylor said.

Her nonprofit, is a project based initiative to re-engage students in the educational and reading experience. She has also created a reading program called Reading the Phonics Way. It teaches people how to teach others how to read.

“ It really taps into the basics.”

Taylor says the program was created as a solution to a problem she saw during the pandemic.

Many parents were at home with their children, and were unable to teach their them how to read because they did not have the tools or skills to do so.

“ They didn’t know what to teach or how to teach it,” she said.

With the reading program, the goal is to help more families in the metro.

“Not only do they get the book they get flash cards and then they get check-ins.”
“Reading first starts with the ears people go what do you mean? Well it’s what they hear, versus what they see.”

Taylor explains that there’s a serious illiteracy problem in the metro. It’s not just about picking up books, she says the community really has to read through what causing it.

Tina Gill, is a program director with the non-profit, Turn the Page KC, says there are a lot of needs when it comes to addressing illiteracy.

“in order for them to help increase literacy and that could be housing insufficiencies or food insufficiency.”
Dreams Consulting KC is now partnering with Turn the Page KC to help fill in the gap.

Kristin Droge, Executive Director, of Turn the Page KC said their plan is to serve as the backbone for literacy initiatives. They will bring other agencies and organizations together, in order to make their work more powerful.

“Many in the field of literacy and education but also those in the field of health care transportation and civic engagement community safety all kinds because everything impacts a child’s ability to learn,” she said.

Both organizations hope this new initiative will start a new wave to end illiteracy, what they’re calling a blended effort to effect change.

“Grandparents, uncles, aunts we don’t care who it is that have the time to commit to working with their children in home, or in small groups to actually move the needle in literacy,” Taylor said.

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