The Maine DOE’s Literacy for ME initiative recently hosted a Critical Friends meeting to share its accomplishments and offer guidance for ongoing implementation efforts. This meeting marked the first-year implementation anniversary of Literacy for ME, a statewide initiative intended to bolster literacy learning opportunities across the birth to adult span. Literacy for ME includes a State literacy plan that promotes state-level literacy education efforts as well as the development of community-based literacy teams.
Approximately 50 representatives of literacy-related organizations from across Maine attended this meeting, and the guidance they shared will inform the Maine DOE’s ongoing implementation of this initiative. Some ideas offered by participants for furthering the implementation of Literacy for ME included strengthening existing inter-agency collaborations; building urgency for raising literacy achievement by highlighting community literacy activities through social media; providing volunteer training opportunities focused on literacy learning efforts; and fostering higher-education partnerships with community literacy teams.
During the meeting, attendees heard from a panel comprised of representatives from five community literacy teams from Machias, Old Town, Waterville, Greenville and RSU 21 (Kennebunk/Kennebunkport/Wells). Panelists shared community literacy planning efforts, including successes, ideas for overcoming community literacy challenges and future plans. The presentations offered a wealth of creative ideas about community literacy planning. Examples of community literacy team successes include summer literacy outreach efforts for school-age children, the creation of story walks on community nature trails, partnerships with local United Ways to provide literacy learning materials (books, magnetic letters, etc.) to incoming kindergarten students for use at home, and obtaining grants for bolstering local and school libraries.
More information about the Literacy for ME initiative, including resources that support literacy learning and community literacy planning, can be found at www.maine.gov/doe/literacy-for-me.