Basic Organization Information
GREATER INDIANAPOLIS LITERACY LEAGUE INC
- Also Known As:
- Physical Address:
- Web URL:
- NTEE Category:
P Human Services
P50 Personal Social Services
B Educational Institutions
B60 Adult, Continuing Education
W Public, Society Benefit
W01 Alliance/Advocacy Organizations
- Ruling Year:
- How This Organization Is Funded:
Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust - $75,000
The Community Foundation of Boone County - $60,000
Lilly Endowment - $50,000
Indy Reads believes that everyone should have an opportunity to learn to read. Our mission is to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana. Our goal is to “Make Indianapolis 100% Literate.”
Mr. Travis DiNicola
M. Travis DiNicola is the Executive Director of Indy Reads. The mission of Indy Reads is to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana. Prior to joining Indy Reads, DiNicola was director of public relations for Young Audiences of Indiana. He is also the co-host and producer of "The Art of the Matter" weekly arts talk show on WFYI 90.1FM Indianapolis Public Radio. Originally from Pennsylvania, DiNicola received a B.A. in Theatre & Dance and a M.S. in Art Education from Penn State University. He has worked as an actor, dancer, and performance artist. DiNicola is also a writer, and has taught at IUPUI, Butler University and Seoul National University.
Awards he has received include, the Lacy Leadership Association's Edna B. Lacy Community Service Award, a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship, WFYI’s Community Volunteer Award, Broad Ripple Art Fair Volunteer of the Year, the IBJ's Forty Under 40, and he was a finalist in the non-profit category for the 2009 Junior Achievement of Central Indiana’s Best & Brightest awards.
I believe that illiteracy is the root of almost every signficiant problem our community faces. Improving literacy increases the standard of living for everybody - making Indianapolis a safer, and healthier place to live.Indy Reads is a direct provider of free services to adults in our community who struggle with reading and writing. Helping adults is our mission, but our advocacy work extends beyond our services, with our efforts to improve all types of literacy in Central Indiana- including children's literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, family literacy, workplace literacy, and cultural literacy. We know that to make our community 100% literate it will take the efforts and engagement of 100% of the community working on all aspects of the illiteracy problem.
It all starts with our kids. We have seen graduation rates for public school students in Indianapolis increase during the past few years. We are making progress. This begs the question though, what happens to the estimated 26% of our kids who drop out? These at-risk kids become at-risk adults. According to the Dept. of Education, close to 1 in 5 adults in Central Indiana read below a sixth-grade level, and 7% can only read the simplest of words. Adults who struggle with reading are more likely to end up in prison, or be the victims of crimes, have enormously higher health care costs, and live in poverty – all of which affects their children. If mom can’t read, the odds are overwhelming that the child won’t read or graduate either. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s recent report, 83% of fourth-graders from low-income families failed to read at a “proficient” level.
The correlation between drop-out and adult illiteracy is undeniable. Children of illiterate parents have almost no chance at success. It is a cycle of illiteracy that must be broken. If we are to ever make Indianapolis 100% literate, we have to help both the children and the parents. We ask you to join us in this work.
Board of Directors
Highest Paid Employees & Their Compensation
Literacy Lab Program
- Population Served:
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General
Ourcommunity-wide Literacy Lab outreach program provides free and immediate helpfor at-risk adults struggling with reading and writing. The lab program is runby 2 FT and 3 PT staff, and over 140 volunteer Reading Coaches. Last year weserved 704 adults through the 33 labs located in neighborhood centers, adulthigh schools, GED classes, the jails, reentry programs, our office, and at ourbookstore. Labs last two hours and are held twice a week at each location.Task-based instruction focuses on basic literacy and life-skill issues--such asapplying for a job, reading a prescription, understanding a bill, andresponding to letters--as well as providing more advanced tutoring for thosepreparing to take the GED. Many students who start in our labs will later"enroll" in our one-on-one tutoring program. Likewise, students whoare currently on the wait-list for a personal tutor can attend a lab while theywait to be matched. The nature and structure of the labs often make them moreeffective tools for adults reading at higher levels than for our other studentswith learning disabilities or who are functionally illiterate and thereforerequire ongoing personal instruction. These "semi-literate" studentswho come to our labs reading at a 5th to 8th grade level were previously lesslikely to commit to our one-on-one program, and yet were not ready for pursuingtheir GED. They frequently fell through the cracks of traditional adulteducation services. Our Literacy Labs function as a bridge for these at-riskadults.
Program Long-Term Success:
Making Indianapolis 100% Literate.
Program Short-Term Success:
The Literacy Lab program began in 2009 to meet the needs ofadults we weren't reaching through our one-on-one tutoring. Literacy Labssucceed because of our partner locations. Labs provide an immediate andconvenient way for people to access Indy Reads services without having toenroll in our regular program, wait for a tutor, or commit to a regularschedule. In 2012 the program more than doubled from 15 Labs to 33, with 2 newlabs opening this spring. In 2013 the Labs will help at least 900 adultstudents (who spend 12 hours or more in a lab) improve their literacy skills,increase their self-sufficiency, improve their job prospects, and for those inthe criminal justice system reduce their rate of recidivism.
Program Success Monitored by:
Indy Reads is a student-centered program: students set theirown goals, and their volunteer tutors guide them through the steps to achievethese outcomes, while continuously re-assessing those goals. All students areevaluated every 6 months using the Bader Reading & Language Inventory toolfor word identification, phonics, comprehension, spelling and writing --providing a grade level assessment of their reading ability. Literacy Labs are evaluated in threeadditional ways. First, with daily session surveys, completed by each coach,that track the student's participation and work. Second, staff visit each siteregularly to meet with the partners, and observe the coaches and clientstogether. Third, we use evaluations from coaches and partners to gauge theappropriateness and effectiveness of each site.
It can be difficult to compare success from Lab to Lab aseach partner measures or tracts their clients in different ways. We are in theprocess now of collecting this data, for a baseline, from each of our new GEDand Adult High School partners. One GED partner (Northview Middle School's GEDclass) saw an increase from 43% to 67% of their students showing measurablegains (going up one level in TABE in this case) within a year of having a Labas part of their classroom. We are currently determining what each GED andAdult High School partner is measuring to ensure that all of those Lab partnerscan show measurable gains that are significant for them which correspond withtheir use of the lab.
Program Success Examples:
Family Literacy Workshops
- Population Served:
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Indy Reads, in partnership with Junior League ofIndianapolis, is in the midway point of developing and implementing a newFamily Literacy Program in the Indianapolis community. At this point in time, the program consiststhree basic components; 1.) A 90-minute workshop for parents of preschoolers,and 2.) Table/booth events from which information is distributed, and 3.) Onehour story time at Indy Reads Books on Saturdays. Each of these activities delivers informationthat imparts the importance of reading with young children in order to preparethem for school.
Family Literacy 90Minute Workshops
The 90-minute workshops are presented by Indy Readsvolunteers through other organizations to the parents of pre-school children inat-risk communities. Such organizationsprovide all of the promotional efforts and handle childcare during theworkshonot to the child. In other words, the objective is to engagethe child in dialogue while reading the book rather than allowing the child tobe a passive listener. Volunteers workwith small groups of participants at tables. In order to impress upon the participants the importance of reading withtheir children, Indy Reads volunteers consult with them concerning theage-related literacy developmental milestones for their children. The volunteers then demonstrate effectivereading tips and strategies according to the Dialogic Reading Method that canbe easily grasped by the parent. Becausethe session is informal, participants are encouraged to discuss the informationand how it relates to their specific children. Volunteers are pleased to answer questions and encourage the participantto openly voice any concerns they may have.
At the end of each workshop, parents receive free books totake home and read to their children. Inaddition, the children are enrolled in IMCPL’s Bunny Bag program, the UnitedWay’s Early Reader’s Club program, and are given $5.00 gift certificates toIndy Reads Books. When there are six ormore participants, there is also a drawing for a $10.00 gift certificate toIndy Reads Books. Indy Reads launchedthe workshops in July of 2012 and conducted a total of 6 workshops in2012. So far in 2013, the workshops are takingplace on a monthly basis in Families First and the Christel House.
The size of the workshops can vary depending on the spaceavailable and/or the number of available volunteers. The host organization may also request aworkshop for a specific number of participants and Indy Reads will try toaccommodate. In some cases, we have hada participant express a desire to attend the workshop again. We welcome repeat attendance because eachsession gives the participant the opportunity to further acquire and retain theinformation.
Other locations currently being considered for the workshopsinclude Fathers and Families, Crane House and Habitat for Humanity. Indy Reads is approaching theseorganizations, but Indy Reads will also consider working with any organizationthat expresses a desire to offer our workshop. An organization that would like to host a workshop needs to contactAngie Garcia at Indy Reads via email@example.com(firstname.lastname@example.org) .
Program Long-Term Success:
Program Short-Term Success:
Program Success Monitored by:
Program Success Examples:
Impact Summary from the Nonprofit
Indy Reads is the only ProLiteracy partner organization in Central Indiana which uses trained volunteers to provide free reading, writing, and life-skill instruction to adults. Services include one-on-one tutoring, small group sessions, English as a Second Language instruction, Family Literacy workshops, and our Literacy Lab program in neigbhorhood centers, jails, adult high schools, and GED classes.
Thanks to our donors, in 2012 we provided
free programming to a record 1,406 adults! That is
1,406 adults in our community who are taking control of their lives by
improving their reading and writing so they can get better jobs, take better
care of themselves, and be better parents. That is 294 more students than in
2011, 106 more than our 2012 goal, and it is more than four times the number of students we were serving just 6 years
ago! We could not have achieved this without the incredible talent and
generosity of our more than 800
Indy Reads has an ongoing goal of ensuring that at least 60% of our students improve their reading ability by at least one grade level in a year. We continue to exceed this goal, with 53% currently improving by one grade level and an additional 22% improving their ability by two grade levels or more; some students improve by as many as five grade levels in a single year. For the 25% of students who have learning challenges which may prevent them from noticeably improving their reading skills, we focus on teaching them necessary life-skills such as being able to read a bus schedule, how to write a check, or how to cook from a recipe. Improving our students' literacy and life-skills improves their chances at getting a better job, becoming healthier, staying out of prison, and being a better parent.