Children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers. How does this affect Yolo County students?

This question was addressed in a community “call to action” on Wednesday for the First Annual Literacy Symposium. Yolo Farm to Fork is proud to partner with the Yolo County Office of Education, Yolo County Library, and community organizations to discuss strategies – including nutrition and gardens – to meet the literacy needs of our county’s youngest at-risk students and families on April 29.

The symposium focused on early intervention and targeted approaches to student improvement, food security and nutrition access to stimulate learning readiness, community engagement including enhanced parent participation, and summer learning sustainability.

Yolo County Superintendent of Schools Jesse Ortiz and Yolo County Librarian Patty Wong initiated the first steps to bring attention to the issue of low literacy. The symposium was a first step in creating a countywide action plan.

“Investing in our children now is an investment in the future,” said Yolo County Superintendent of Schools Jesse Ortiz. “The quality of life for generations to come will be influenced by the resources and priorities we provide our children now to become successful throughout their lives.”

Suzanne Falzone, president of Yolo Farm to Fork, was a panel speaker discussing the role of nutrition, school edible gardens, and their impact on early literacy. Other panelists included Ricardo Perez on literacy by the 3rd grade, Rex Fortune on family engagement, and Steve Olmos on summer learning.

Kudos to the numerous individuals and organizations involved. It was well organized and there was a lot of collaboration, enthusiasm, and energy.

Yolo Farm to Fork is very pleased to be part of this effort and are eager for the next steps being planned for the fall of this year.

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