San Francisco library summer literacy program gains statewide attention

In an era of advanced technology, a San Francisco summer literacy program has garnered statewide attention for its efforts to combat learning loss.

The program's objective is to encourage summer reading and promote basic literacy skills among students who have already been affected by pandemic-related learning losses.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California's First Partner, was greeted Thursday by San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the city's Main Library staff in Civic Center.

Highlighting the importance of literacy for education, opportunities, and mental health, Newsom stressed the program's significance in preventing further academic setbacks during prolonged breaks.

"For me, literacy is about education, it is about opportunity and it's also about mental health," said Newsom.

During the visit, Newsom and Breed met with students at the library's teen center, known as The Mix, who were participating in various literacy classes.

Mayor Breed emphasized the value of reading to delve into different stories and explore one's identity.

The program incorporates hands-on craft projects in the Makerspace studio, encouraging language and reading skills development through arts and crafts.

The summer program also hosts a poetry jam and includes a dance and movement workshop led by professional dancers, emphasizing the importance of emotional communication and physical coordination in conjunction with literacy.

"If you don't read, you don't actually know what's going on in the world, or you cannot necessarily relate," said Newsom.

The consequences of illiteracy are not limited to academic setbacks but also have a significant economic impact. Forbes reports that adult illiteracy costs the U.S. economy a staggering $2.2 trillion dollars annually. By prioritizing literacy programs like this one, communities strive to build a better-informed and connected society.