Strategic Plan 2016-2019 Executive Summary
An individual’s ability to read is a direct link to economic security, access to health care and the ability to effectively participate in society.
A study by the U.S. Department of Education in 2013 found that 14% of the U.S. population (32 million adults) can’t read. Twenty-one percent of adults read below a 5th grade level and 19% of high school graduates can’t read. Among adults with the lowest level of literacy proficiency, 43% live in poverty.
Sixty-one percent of families do not have an age appropriate book at home. Six out of 10 households do not buy a book in a single year. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read to aloud to every day than are children in families with incomes at, or above, poverty.
For Malcolm Mitchell, this begged the question: How might I change literacy among students living in households where reading is not a priority?
To introduce early learners to the long-term benefits of being an active reader.
A native of Valdosta, Georgia, Malcolm Mitchell did not make reading a priority when he was growing up. As a struggling young reader, it wasn’t until Malcolm’s freshman year at the University of Georgia that he developed an understanding of the importance of being a strong reader and a love of books. Through perseverance, books became an avenue for expanding his curiosity, creativity and learning.
Outside of the classroom, Malcolm’s athletic talent propelled him to become one of the top wide receivers in Division I College Football at the University of Georgia, where he is among the top ten all-time receivers in UGA’s history.
While a senior at UGA, Malcolm received an NCAA waiver to write and publish his first children’s book, “The Magician’s Hat,” which challenges young readers to think about what they want to be when they grow up. Read With Malcolm was formed as a book publishing organization. In its first year, Read With Malcolm distributed “The Magician’s Hat” to more than 13,500 students in over 57 elementary schools, children’s hospitals and community service organizations. Malcolm personally visited over 19 elementary schools to host Reading Rallies, inspiring students to share his love of reading.
In April 2016, Malcolm was drafted by the New England Patriots. With the early success of “The Magician’s Hat” and a strong desire to increase the book’s impact on young readers, Malcolm founded Share the Magic Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, to promote the long-term benefits of being an active reader to students served by Title I schools and underserved communities.
To transform the lives of young students through literacy by introducing book ownership to students in households where reading is not a priority and to improve literacy among students with below grade-level reading skills.
At the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year Read With Malcolm aims to:
● Introduce book ownership to 40,000 students in underserved communities who are served by Title I schools and community organization.
● Provide 2,500 educators with “The Magician’s Hat” Teacher’s Instructional Plan that meets the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy.
● Improve grade-level expectations for reading and writing in 90% of the students served by Read with Malcolm programs.
Introduce book ownership to students served by Title I Schools through proven signature programs.
This strategy focuses on creating access to book ownership among low-income students as a means to improve reading achievement. Creating access to age-appropriate books is proven to nearly triple interest in reading within months. Studies show that children growing up in homes with at least 20 books get 3 years more schooling than children from homes without books. Therefore, getting books in the hands and homes of a student is critical to improving the literacy crisis in the United States. By instituting a policy that every child receives a book, Read with Malcolm insures that the very child reached knows the value and inspiration of owning a book.
Align “The Magician’s Hat” with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy.
This strategy focuses on providing elementary school teachers with access to “The Magician’s Hat Teacher’s Guide” that aligns with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy. The teacher's guide includes a short biography of Malcolm Mitchell, a summary of “The Magician's Hat,” and a variety of standards-based activities and discussion questions to assist students with understanding the story and extending the book's theme to their own lives.
Evaluate improvements in literacy among students with below-grade levels who are served by Read With Malcolm programs.
Read With Malcolm aims that 90% of students served by one of the organization’s programs improve grade-level expectations for reading and writing. An assessment, such as an Accelerated Reader Test, will be developed and distributed to all educators and schools participating in a Read With Malcolm program to measure improvements in literacy among students with below grade-level reading skills.
Improve literacy among students with below grade-level reading skills through partnerships.
This strategy focuses on building partnerships with organizations throughout the United States to address barriers related to the accessibility of age-appropriate books and engaging reading material. By investing in key partnerships, Read With Malcolm will impact greater numbers of underserved students and students with reading disabilities in meaningful ways. The impact is extended through service learning opportunities for students attending K-12 schools and higher education programs.
Engage community leaders, educators and students in the mission.
This strategy focuses on establishing three groups to support the mission to transform the lives of young students through literacy: a nine (9) member Board of Directors to govern Share the Magic Foundation; an Educators Advisory Board with up to six (6) members; and a Reading Ambassadors program for middle and high school age students to engage and inspire their younger peers in reading and to lead service learning activities by reading to younger peers who have barriers to access age-appropriate books.
Expand the Share the Magic Grant Fund
This strategy focuses on increasing donations to Share the Magic Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2016, to significantly increase book ownership among children in low and moderate-income communities. Through an application process, the Share the Magic Grant Fund offers programming and books to students served by Title I schools and community organizations.