The Red Wagon program promotes early childhood literacy in a low income community. Schoolcraft College has been engaged in the Red Wagon Early Childhood Literacy Program in the Norwayne community (Westland) since the inception of the program, and have continued our involvement for over a decade. This diverse (minority enrollment 43%), low income community (77% of students qualify for free, or reduced price lunches) community faces multiple challenges, including low literacy levels. This award-winning program is recognized by the Michigan Association of School Boards as the "Best of the Best" and the National Association of School Boards. Educational research indicates access to books, and a literacy rich environment improves school readiness and success. If children have access to books in the spring and summer months their reading skills will be enhanced, and they will be less likely to lose knowledge gained during the school year.
Involvement by Schoolcraft College has included participation by 9 college offices, 2 student clubs, 4 Service Learning designated classes, with 160+ students, faculty and staff involved (2017). In 2016, seventy-three Westland families benefited from the program. Schoolcraft courses and participants included our Early Childhood Education, Medical Assisting and Health Information Technology programs and associated student clubs; courses including Art Education, Social Problems, and two English courses, as well as and an Individual Service Option that provided a student presentation on research correlating low literacy levels to poor health outcomes. Our Social Problems Service Learning spring course solicits donations, gathers and sorts them, and sets up the program at the community site on an annual basis.
Through our Honors Scholars, this program has even spread to India. Leadership experience by our Scholars has frequently served as the foundation for many capstone projects. Our community partners for this program include Saints Simon and Jude Catholic church, Wayne-Westland community schools, Citivan of Westland, the Eastern Michigan University Bright Futures program and more.
Access to Print for Children of Poverty Susan B. Neuman and Kathy Roskos
American Educational Research Journal, March 20, 1993; vol. 30, 1: pp. 95-122.
Public School Review
Schoolcraft College Service Learning Program, 2017.