SitStayRead in The Gate Newspaper!

With a Cup of Joe and a Book, Local Coffeehouse Creates Space for Literacy

SitStayRead mentioned in The Gate newspaper on August 2, 2019.

by Gloria Talamantes

Photo courtesy of the Back of the Yards Coffeehouse.

Photo courtesy of the Back of the Yards Coffeehouse.

The Back of the Yards Coffeehouse hosts reading days for children and families in the neighborhood. It is one of the many ways they work on their mission of creating social impact in the area. Children’s Story Hour series takes place two times during Aug. 

Starting Aug. 3, story hour will bring in special guests. Sit Stay Read, an organization that specializes in bringing human and dog volunteers to assist children in learning new literacy skills will kick off the month.

The organization works with low-income CPS schools. In Back of the Yards, they are partnered with Hamline Elementary, Robert H. Fulton Elementary Schools and Hendrix Elementary Community Academy in Canaryville. It is the first summer they’ll volunteer in out of school programming in the neighborhood. The coffeehouse will also host guest author and illustrator for its second Children Story Hour on the second Saturday of the month.

Mayra Hernandez, the co-founder of the Back of the Yards Coffeehouse, believes that free public programming is essential to have. Collaborations with organizations, authors and artists make for a proper fit at the coffee shop.

“When I met a group of volunteers from Sit Stay Read, I knew that I had to invite them to our Children’s Story Hour at the coffeehouse. This team uses dogs to help solve a big problem in Chicago Public Schools: low literacy levels,” she said. “ I learned that only 3 in 10 students entering 4th grade are proficient readers.”

According to a low-income student case study by the Center on Education Policy (CEP), titled NCLB Year Four Case Study Report, the majority of Chicago’s English language learners speak Spanish as their first language. This group of Latino students makes 38 percent of the district’s student population. And 14 percent of them met the Adequate Reading Progress (AYP) target with a 54 percent passing rate…..