While many of us have heard of the impact of the “academic achievement gap” or “opportunity gap”, fewer know about the “literacy gap” plaguing schools across the nation.
The literacy gap is the difference in literacy for students from various backgrounds, with students from middle-class or suburban backgrounds reading at higher levels than students from low-income, urban, or rural backgrounds.
According to the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), 1 out of 6 students who are not reading proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers. Children struggle to read even higher for students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and students in rural areas that this stat provides.
Seeing the effects of the literacy gap first hand is what drove the inception of Pennez, a company whose goal is to provide tools and resources for parents, educators and students to combat reading aloud and struggling readers in their homes and classrooms.
Founded by a former educator, Pennez aims to close the illiteracy gap through software and online programming for students in grades Kindegarten through Eightth Grade.
Pennez’s vision is to restore the reading outcomes for learners so that youth can read to think. By offering products and services to reduce the literacy gap for youth and providing content written by and about people of color, Pennez reaches students where they are at, and provides opportunities for students to not only interact with literature through reading, but through community building.
Pennez also aims to engage the community, through programming for students. By incorporating stories focused on diverse characters and topics, Activities are implemented to reinforce story concepts. Trained educators, writers, and authors facilitate book discussion, as well as modeling reading behavior.
Additional opportunities to build community and reach families and students is done through Pennez’s storytelling events. These events celebrate the spoken arts to emulate for youth the different ways to engage with literature: by listening, speaking, and reading. A variety of artists share their stories in their own way, and allow youth to connect with creative members of their community.
Pennez cares about children’s literacy skills. And by leading conversations about the impact of literacy on a child’s education and long-term achievement, we hope you care too.
Trained artists will work with youth one-on-one and provide real world examples and guided practice. Reading has the power to change minds, hearts, and to build understanding.
Small Group Reading
Trained facilitators who love literacy will provide instruction one-on-one or in group sessions to address your child’s literacy needs. By learning about your child’s needs we create custom lessons, questions, and activities to support your child’s reading skills.
Literacy instruction can be provided in person or virtually to Kindergarten-Eighth grade readers.
As a former elementary educator and professor, I started Pennez to address illiteracy and lack of stories written by and about people of color. K-12 readers need more accessibility to more resources so that they will be more engaged to read. Every time I review this stat, 65% of youth are at least 1 or 2 grade levels behind in 3rd grade reading, and 10% of our stories are written by and about people of color, I knew that we could do something. I know that as a community & nation we have to do better. Our web application is under construction. However, to ensure that we are connecting with youth, educators, and families, we provide a host of services to address your child’s literacy needs.
Read2Think is intended to provide support as young readers work to build and strengthen a child’s oral reading skills. Stories within the application are written for Kindergarten-Sixth Grade Readers, with stories at, above, and below the respective grade levels average reading stage. Read2Think utilizes Natural Language Processing software and is designed to be responsive, listening to the child and providing data and resources. Children using Read2Think will read out loud to assist them with their oral reading fluency, and children in grades K-1 have sight word fluency sentences. Read2Think was created not only with the intent of providing an evaluation of a child’s reading skills, but also to provide teachers and parents with a resource to better understand where a child is in their literacy education. Reading aloud, either with friends, teachers, family, or with Read2Think, empowers young readers to build their literacy skills to not only be able to understand the text in front of them, but to comprehend the meanings and intent behind those words as well. Stories within Read2Think feature people of color where their lives are represented in the text.
Our latest blogs full of book reviews, amazing artists and writers, and tips for parents and teachers
Tips for Educators
From one educator to another: advice and resources for your classroom
Learn more about Pennez; who we are and what we do