About Words on The Street Words On The Street – A Literacy Program

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The Program

The brainchild of bestselling author Solomon Jones, Words On The Street is a literacy program for at-risk students that brings the resources of educational, corporate and media entities to bear while harnessing the power of the people who matter most – parents. Research indicates that parental involvement remains a strong predictor of educational success, but parents can’t do it alone, so we’ve assembled a dynamic team to help.

The Partners

The program includes local and national corporate partners.

  • The Black Male Engagement Challenge
  • The Verizon Foundation
  • Art Sanctuary
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Clear Channel Radio
  • The School District of Philadelphia’s Parent University
  • Barnes & Noble Booksellers

The Point

Our goal is to improve reading scores for all students, but for black male high school students in particular. The statistics tell us why:

  • Readingscores for black male twelfth graders were 24 points lower than their white counterparts in 2005.
  • The national on-time graduation rate for black males was 48 percent compared to 74 percent for white males in 2005. InPhiladelphiain 2007-08, it was even worse, with only 28 percent of black male students graduating on time.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050, about 50 percent of theU.S.population will be African American, Hispanic, or Asian.
  • This demographic shift indicates that the academic performance of students of color must be addressed ifAmericais to compete globally.

The Plan

Bestselling author Solomon Jones will facilitate student/parent workshops that teach the elements of story. A curriculum based on Jones’s novel, The Last Confession, will reinforce these lessons while also examining the impact of life choices such as violence vs. forgiveness. Participants will improve their critical thinking skills and create their own stories, the best of which will be published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In addition, the participating school whose reading scores improve most will be mentioned in Jones’s next novel. In short, our plan includes four phases:

  • Presenting students with role models whose achievements are due to literacy.
  • Encouraging parental involvement to improve educational outcomes.
  • Implementing experiential learning to make literacy relevant.
  • Incentivizing success by rewarding creativity and improved reading scores.

Words On The Street – A Literacy Program

The Author

Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author whose novels include Payback, C.R.E.A.M., Ride Or Die, The Bridge, and Pipe Dream. He created a pilot that was optioned by NBC, and is a highly sought-after public speaker. A former adjunct professor at Temple University’s College of Liberal Arts, Jones has been published in Essence magazine, has penned an award-winning column for the Philadelphia Daily News, and has been published in Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia magazine, and the Philadelphia Weekly. He serves on the advisory board of The Doe Fund, and lives in Philadelphia with his wife and children. His sixth novel, The Last Confession, is the basis for the Words On The Street program.

The Curriculum

 Through the eleven-lesson Words On The Street curriculum, students learn to identify and utilize story elements such as setting, character, and plot. Using a four step paradigm consisting of perspective, preparation, penning, and publishing, students construct their own stories, study publishing options, and learn to better evaluate and understand the writings of others.

The Themes

The Last Confession is at its core an examination of conflict, its causes and its consequences. Set in an urban environment that will be familiar to our target audience, the book will act as a catalyst that will allow participants not only to examine character, plot, and setting. It will also present an opportunity for students to delve into deeper issues. They include:

  • The consequences of violence on individuals and families.
  • The effects of the drug culture on urban communities.
  • The choice between violence and forgiveness.
  • The power of personal responsibility.
  • The effects of prejudice on interpersonal relationships.

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