205 West 12th Street
Erie, PA 16534
The Erie Times-News In Education (NIE) program is a national award-winning 501c(3) organization that serves more than 30,000 students in over 200 Northwestern Pennsylvania schools. The organization is part of an international movement, utilizing the newspaper and its resource to educate children and families through direct service. With over two decades of service to Erie, Crawford, Venango and Warren Counties of Pennsylvania and the bordering towns in New York and Ohio, the NIE program is a leader in the education community.
Erie Times-News In Education is a 2002 Pennsylvania Educational Tax Credit-offeringinnovative educational program. Employer ID # 25-1877033.
We believe that children, who currently only make up 25% of our population, represent 100% of our future. The Erie Times-News In Education program promotes self-sufficiency and strives to encourage life-long daily reading habits which create informed, literate and educated citizens.
The Project: “Learning Together” Family Literacy Initiative
With more than 30,000 students and hundreds of teachers in Northwestern Pennsylvania participating in Erie Times-News in Education programs and projects, the “Learning Together” Family Literacy Initiative was designed to close the gap between teacher, student and parent.
Parents today often wonder what they can do at home to reinforce what their child learns in school. The current Pennsylvania Academic Standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening require teachers to utilize the newspaper and other forms of media in their lessons. Children, in grades 3, 5, 8, & 11 are tested on these specific standards.
Experts agree that children learn best when parents are interested and involved in their children’s education. Many parents have found that reading and looking through the newspaper with their children makes learning at home both enjoyable and effective.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 1999 long-term reading assessment found that reading for fun had a positive relationship to average scores of students. At ages 9, 13, and 17 students who said they read for fun scored higher than peers who said they never read for fun.
In addition the NAEP 1999 long-term reading assessment also found a positive relationship between students’ average reading scores and how many different types of reading materials (newspapers, magazines, books etc.) they had at home. Findings also showed higher than average scores among students who reported more types of reading material at home. The 68% of students who had three or more different types of reading materials at home performed at the Proficient level, while students who had two or fewer types of reading materials at home performed at the Basic level. Student who had four types of reading material at home performed the highest.
Finally, students who discussed their studies at home, however frequently, had higher average reading scores than students who reported never discussing their studies at home. The 83% of students who discussed their studies once a month or more at home performed at the Proficient level, compared to students who never or hardly ever discussed their studies at home and performed at the Basic level.
Source: National Institute for Literacy (NIFL)
The newspaper is both an inexpensive source of information for parents and a rich resource for enjoyable learning activities between parent and child. However, not every household has the financial ability to purchase their own copies of the newspaper on a regular basis. Families who qualify for Title I (low-income) funding throughout the service area of Erie Times-News In Education will be invited to participate in the “Learning Together” program at no charge. Parents will be invited to participate in the program through a direct-mail piece developed in conjunction with the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit and all participating school districts. Families who do not fit into the Title I category, but wish to participate, will be invited to do so only after Title I families have the ability to decline registration for the program.
Erie Times-News In Education will offer one “Learning Together” session per month (12 sessions per year) and will offer the sessions to Title I families in each county the program serves. Each learning session will accommodate up to 16 parents totaling 200 parents over the program year. The program goal is to administer “Learning Together” sessions within eight of the regional school districts during year-one.
In addition, Erie Times-News In Education will offer eight Act 48 credit offering teacher in-services within the participating school districts. These in-services will be designed to provide teachers of the students whose families are participating in the program with the same materials and curriculum the parents will be receiving. The in-services, will in fact, close the loop between teacher, student and parent as related to the “Learning Together” Family Literacy Initiative.
Parents who register to participate in the “Learning Together” Family Literacy Initiative will be required to attend two (2-hour) evening workshops. The workshops will be held at locations throughout the Erie Times-News In Education service area, within driving distance for participating families. Parents will be required to attend both sessions in order to successfully graduate from the program.
Day one of the “Learning Together” parent’s workshops will focus on:
Parents will also receive instruction on how to incorporate family storytelling methods into conversations with their children – in an effort to develop a further interest in reading.
Day two of the “Learning Together” parent’s workshops will focus on:
Activities for the Child – On Their Own.
Parents will also receive instruction on how to properly select children’s books as well as useful Internet reading sources.
Activities, taught as part of the “Learning Together” program are designed to:
Build a child’s love of reading
Reinforce what is taught in school
Create a special time to be enjoyed between parent and child, participating in a “fun reading” situation
Help the parent learn more about the child’s interests
Help the child advance according to Pennsylvania Academic Standards.
Teachers from districts who have parents participating in the program will receive the same training materials during a half-day in-service session, awarding each participating teacher (4) Act 48 hours.
Upon graduation from the program, each parent will receive:
A 3-month subscription (7 days per week) of the Erie Times-News, delivered directly to the family’s home for use in applying “Learning Together” activities.
Two age-appropriate children’s books for the family’s home.
The “Learning Together” curriculum and other related instruction materials.
Certificate of completion.
Monthly self-reporting questionnaires to track the family’s progress, delivered via mail.
On-going support from Erie Times-News In Education staff once training is complete.
200 parents from low-income families will receive no-cost instruction that is vital to working with their children at home to improve reading and writing abilities.
200 parents from low-income families will be provided with free curriculum materials and newspapers for a three-month period to administer program lessons in the home.
200 parents from low-income families will receive two new children’s books for their homes.
120 teachers (approximate number) from eight school districts will receive Act 48 credit offering training.
Evaluating Program Effectiveness:
Each program participant will complete a pre- and post-survey to evaluate program effectiveness. All activities (for both the parents’ and teachers’ sessions) will include a rubric for personal evaluation on the successful completion of each activity. A monthly self-reporting questionnaire will be mailed to each program graduate, to track progress of activities within the home. Feedback to questionnaires will be provided and again be mailed back to the home. Attendance at workshops will be tracked via in-house data collection devices, to monitor program goals related to attendance.
Erie Times-News In Education is requesting $7,800 to fund the “Learning Together” Family Literacy Initiative for the 2002-2003 school-year. The funds will be used for direct-service.
Matching funds of $4,800 are being provided, along with $4,000 of in-kind services for the program. A budget with narrative follows.Funding Source / Matching Funds
Purchase a 3-month newspaper subscription (7 day) for each program graduate.
(200 graduates x $3 per week x 12 weeks = $7,200) / Development, duplication and administration of curriculum and materials for (8) teacher’s in-service programs ($200 per in-service x 8 in-services = $1600). Match donated by the Times Publishing Company, Erie, PA.
Development, duplication and administration of curriculum and materials for (12) parent’s workshops. ($200 per workshop with average of 16 parents per session x 12 sessions = $2,400). Match donated by the Times Publishing Company, Erie, PA.
($50 per parent’s session x 12 sessions = $600). / Facilitator stipend
($100 per teacher’s in-service x 8 in-service programs = $800). In-kind donation from Times Publishing Company.
800 new children’s books (2 books per program graduate). Donated by Books for Kids and WLQN-TV-54. Value: $4,000.
Total grant request:
$7,800 / Total matching funds and in-kind donations: