Non-profit Literacy Partners is launching a campaign that shines a light on how parental illiteracy affects millions of families across the country.
The effort, from The&Partnership, includes an 80-second spot “What Kids Read” that dramatizes the issue from a child’s point of view. The premise is that when parents can’t read, their children must read for them. And they read things a child shouldn’t have to.
One child has to read the instructions for a prescription, while another reads an overdue rent notice. Actual students who participate in the Literacy Partners program are featured in the video, and the voiceover is read by Camille McPherson, a first-year student in the program, in an effort to highlight the strides she has already made.
The effort also includes an interactive digital storytelling experience on the nonprofit’s website. Visitors to the site will be greeted by what appears to be a beautifully illustrated children's story, but on closer inspection the words are actually that of a medical prescription, a carbon monoxide alarm installation guide or notice of electricity/gas termination. Visitors are then prompted to share this page on Facebook or Twitter, and once the page is shared, the words and illustrations transform into actual children's stories.
The stories and book excerpts have been donated by famous children's authors and illustrators, such as Doreen Cronin, Marion Deuchars and Rosemary Wells. Starting with the world preview of Hand in Hand by Rosemary Wells (only due for official release in September), new stories will be revealed over the following month. The site will also provide additional information about the campaign and encourage people to donate to Literacy Partners and help the organization continue to provide free classes to parents.
"We are thrilled with the tone and raw emotion brought forth in the film through our students and their children," says Anthony Tassi, executive director, Literacy Partners, in a release. "Our main goal in creating this film is to bring more attention to the role that parents' education levels play in the lives of their children. We want to remind everyone who is committed to helping children that we can't leave the parents out of the equation.”
The nonprofit provides free literacy classes to low-income parents. In NYC alone, there are more than two million adults – or one in four – who are functionally illiterate and have trouble with daily tasks others take for granted, such as reading a prescription bottle, helping their child with homework, or even navigating public transportation.