Holiday Project Showcases The Importance of Literacy

Read To Succeed Buffalo has united with local artist Brian Nesline to unveil the Letters for Literacy project, a unique holiday gift appropriate for children and adults.

Letters For Literacy is an intriguing project that will have significant outcomes in the lives of Buffalo’s children. The project’s name spawns from its creator, artist Brian Nesline who has taken beautiful black and white photographs of Buffalo’s architectural treasures and spelled out the letters of the alphabet. Letters can be used to spell out names or other words.  Individuals, families or businesses can choose letters to spell out a favorite word (“Buffalo” or “Peace”) or a child’s or family’s name. The framed plaque will can be a constant reminder of the importance of letters and literacy in our community. 

Letters for Literacy will be available at a special holiday booth at the Walden Galleria Mall December 9th through December 24 during regular mall hours.  Letters can be purchased individually or as a framed word. A portion of the proceeds is donated to Read to Succeed to support literacy initiatives

Why Letters For Literacy?

Statistics are chilling. 61% of low income children have no books in their home. Support of The Letters For Literacy project goes a long way in getting books into the hands of our most vulnerable children. More than any other single skill, the ability to read - and read well - allows a child to succeed in school, learn about the world, function in society, and someday have decent job options. By giving children a strong start in pre-literacy activities at an early age, parents can give their children an advantage for a successful school experience.

Research indicates that when children start behind in Kindergarten, they are likely to continue to struggle in school as they get older. Ensuring that children are ready for Kindergarten is Read to Succeed Buffalo’s organizational priority.  The organization was thrilled to work with artist Brian Nesline to launch the Letters For Literacy project. The partnership came together when Nesline expressed interest in supporting Read to Succeed because of the obvious tie between the letters and literacy, as well as his own interest in literacy.

Nesline is well known for his "Faces of Buffalo" series, images created by mosaics of self-portraits from community members. Now a literacy crusader, Nesline is thrilled to promote Buffalo’s architecture and encourage literacy through Letters For Literacy.

According to Helene Kramer, Executive Director of Read to Succeed, “We encourage folks to support our Letters For Literacy project, and to have fun spelling out their names or those of loved ones. This is truly a beautiful and architecturally significant gift that highlights the love of reading and helps spread literacy throughout our community.”

The mission of Read to Succeed Buffalo is to help prepare children for a successful start in school and to improve student achievement in Buffalo through improved literacy. The organization, which is made up of a collaboration of nearly 50 organizations also working in literacy in some way, focuses primarily on literacy for infants to age five. Major funding comes from a funders collaborative that includes the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation and the John R. Oishei Foundation.

This Holiday season, Read To Succeed Buffalo encourages shoppers to give Letters For Literacy as a unique and meaningful gift this season. When you do, you not only give a one-of-a-kind gift, you also support improving literacy rates for children in Buffalo.

Letters For Literacy can be purchased at the Galleria Mall from December 9th -24th or online at www.readtosucceedbuffalo.org/content/pages/lettersforliteracy or at www.facesofbuffalo.com.

Holiday Tips To Promote Literacy For Youth

Some age-appropriate educational experiences take less than a minute to do -

    Place a well-chosen toy within reach of an infant as you smile and say, "this is for you"

  Tell a toddler the name of the vegetable on his plate and encourage him to taste a little

  Praise a two-year-old for how she stacked "three little blocks on top of each other" 

  Put the name of a three-year-old on his drawing while he hears you say his name and watches you write and say each letter of his name

  Give a four-year-old several books to look at while she is in the car, on the bus, or simply waiting for a meal to be ready - and tell her the name of each of the books