by Nora Rodriquez
(Plain Press, June 2011) On Saturday, May 14, The Literacy Cooperative hosted children, parents and tutors from the SPARK, Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids program at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland.
SPARK is an in-home tutoring program that prepares children for kindergarten, using home lesson plans and heavy parental involvement.
At the event, Jhann Ramos, April Pearce and Precious Cooke from Clark Elementary participated in a group lesson that followed the guidelines of the Ohio Department of Education Early Learning Standards. Clark Elementary is one of three Cleveland Municipal School District schools participating in the SPARK program this year.
Robert Paponetti, Executive Director of The Literacy Cooperative, said the main goal of the program is to prepare the children for kindergarten and help them score better on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. In the City of Cleveland, Paponetti said 20 percent of children are ready for kindergarten, 40 percent need some help and 40 percent need intense assistance, according to the assessment, a test that all public school children must take in the State of Ohio. Currently, 131 four year olds are enrolled in SPARK Cuyahoga from seven Greater Cleveland schools.
A study done by a University of Akron professor found that SPARK participants scored better on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment than their peers. The program provides parents and children with free books, supplies and information, along with a tutor, parent partner, who visits at the home or near the home of the child. It also provides activities for the parent and child and a learning plan.
The program is currently recruiting children, age 4, who plan to enter kindergarten at Clark Elementary in August 2012. For more contact Family Connections at 216-321-0079.