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Cleveland school working to increase literacy rates in young children

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Posted at 9:55 AM, Apr 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-06 11:05:43-04

CLEVELAND — Stepstone Academy, a charter school serving kindergarten through second grade, continues to make a difference in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood, through increased literacy rates.

Recently, donations helped transform a gymnasium, that doubled as a breakfast room, into a library.

“Stepstone Academy was not put in the Central Neighborhood by chance,” Principal Kelly Krupa said. “We’re here by choice and we’re here to make a difference.”

Krupa said donations filled the library with thousands of books. Bright paint, stuffed animals and recliners were added to help students feel comfortable.

“We’ve seen an estimated 50 percent increase in our reading scores,” Krupa said. “Not only in the area of reading comprehension, but also foundational skills. Students are having the opportunity to read at an earlier age, exposed to those foundational skills that will help them be successful in starting school, as early as kindergarten and preschool.”

The area is called The Land of Literacy and by the end of each day, students have completed three hours of reading.

“Literacy is the foundation for all success in life,” Dean of Academics Megan Jubec said. “You have to have a strong foundation of literacy. Whether that’s being able to decode a book, being able to read fluently or being able to comprehend what you’re reading. We’ve noticed a strong progression, especially with our decoding skills, and our ability to attack words and text. We’re seeing students smiling while they’re reading, confident while they’re reading, having more stamina.”

Students have really embraced the opportunity.

“When I read, it inspires me with the illustrations,” La’Quan Croch said. “We get to do interesting things that we’ve never done before and we get to try them out.”

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.