Read On Arizona is a statewide, public/private partnership of agencies, philanthropic organizations, and community stakeholders committed to ensuring language and literacy success for all Arizona children. In partnership with Lectio, leaders from Read On Arizona have been strengthening their efforts to better serve the state’s children. Read more about this collaboration and its impact below in an interview with Terri Clark, the Arizona Literacy Director.
What challenges were you facing within the Read On Arizona initiative prior to the December 2015 Institute?
Read On communities are grounded in what we call a “Continuum of Effective Literacy Practices,” to support Read On’s goal: the right program at the right time for the right child to improve literacy outcomes. Our challenge heading into the institute was that the communities needed to do a deeper dive on their mapping efforts (strategic analyses of services and supports) to ensure activities, whether school-based, center-based or community-based, were the right match and effective. In addition, we were struggling with how to build capacity among our Read On communities such that this type of strategic analysis and intentional work is doable and powerful for organizations, agencies, and schools.
What about the Lectio approach resonated with you, and specifically applied to your campaign’s work?
What resonated for Arizona was that Lectio’s research-based approach helped partners build knowledge of literacy instruction and feel confident enough to strategically assess current practice objectively and effectively. This supported communities to use a shared framework to assess programs’ critical implementation areas, such as dosage or target population, and got partners out of the habit of just adding another program to an already burdensome list when a gap was identified. Lectio helped Read On communities realize that it isn’t enough to identify a gap. They learned how to assess whether the programmatic choice to fill that gap is the right solution, and a sustainable one.
What kind of changes have your communities and state-level teams made as a result of the Lectio approach?
We have seen changes at every level in Arizona. We have agencies that are re-designing their portfolios of programs and services to be more intentional and aligned to the outcomes they want. We have local team members that have used Lectio to help strengthen their programming in a specific neighborhood or target population. We have funders working hand-in-hand with their grantees to help support alignment to outcomes using Lectio’s approach. And we have a task force at the state-level for professional development and for family engagement, using what we learned at Lectio to help identify shared performance measures and target goals for the state.
*From left to right: (back row) Conrad Lindo, Joanne Floth, Lori Tapia, Terri Clark, Rudy Ortiz, Bob Rice (front row) Maria Messenger, Terry Doolan, Jenny Volpe, Kendra Smiley, and Katie Kahle