Last year LitWorld piloted a new variation of our LitClub program for families called Story21. This versatile program is all about combining LitWorld's great loves: reading, writing, storytelling, technology and community. The 21 in Story21 stands for 21st century learning. We believe that for children and families to thrive in the 21st century they need to be litearcy-strong and comfortable using their literacy in all sorts of situations. That means sitting down and reading aloud from a traditional book, but it also means creating collaborative stories using a tablet and apps.
Story21 brings families together once a week for family LitClub sessions that focus on our LitWorld 7 Strengths, the power of story and personal narrative with the layer of technology woven in. Our goal is to build community around literacy and to strengthen a family reading and writing culture.
And it's working! After the first year of Story21, the families of Broadway Housing Communities who participated in the pilot said that they read more now in the home and spend more time engaged in activities center around reading and story-sharing. The parents of our program began Story21 feeling uncomfortable holding and operating the tablets we used, but by the end they were iPad whizzes! They are now comfortable exploring new apps on their own and using the tablets at home to find whatever information they need, and most importantly they know how to support their children's reading and writing lives.
Because of our success we are expanding Story21 to our other programming site in New York, the Polo Grounds community in East Harlem. Sessions kicked off this week and we can't wait to watch a new group of families grow as literacy leaders in their community. We are also launching other exciting Story21 expansions, including tablet libraries for our Harlem programs and the wider community to use.