Dyslexia and other disabilities can make learning to read hard enough. But the cost of specialized teaching programs can present an even high barrier, which is where Rogers Park-based Redwood Literacy hopes to help.
The non-profit literacy center is committed to offering research-proven teaching at an affordable cost.
“About one in five individuals now are diagnosed with dyslexia,” said Redwood co-founder Kait Fariante. For those sufferers of the disease “it’s hard for them to learn how to read the traditional way that reading is taught.”
Redwood uses the Wilson Program, a multisensory teaching system. The students learn by “moving things around, listening, seeing, visually seeing a lot of things, models, having a lot of repetition in their instruction in order to learn how to read” Fariante said, adding that all Redwood Literacy teachers are Wilson-certified, she said.
Fariante said that the hourly rate for similar programs across the city is between $100 and $150 per hour, a rate that is particularly daunting for students who require two to three sessions per week, sometimes for two to three years. Redwood offers group sessions at rates as low as $33 per hour, she said.
“Part of our mission is to be able to provide (the educational service) at a more affordable cost,” she said. “We’re trying to figure out how to keep the quality of instruction really high but make it more financially accessible.”
Although they are generating income from clients, Redwood is still a non-profit organization. Fariante said the center is looking for other sources of funding “to offer lower rates for those who need it.”
The literacy center also has a long-term goal of giving every child in Chicago access to a program known as Orton-Gillingham, a philosophy for teaching kids with language-based learning disabilities how to read. Fariante said the organization is looking to create an easily replicated, sustainable model for teaching the program in neighborhoods where resources are limited.
Redwood has also entered in partnerships with local Rogers Park schools, including New Field Elementary School and Sullivan High School, for the 2019-2020 school year. A team of four or five teachers will become Wilson certified, potentially benefiting over 100 students, she said.
To learn more about Redwood literacy and their services you can visit https://www.redwoodliteracy.com/ .