The Brightside: Project Read
SALISBURY, Md. – Learning to read at a young age is a skill most people have, but to others, it’s a luxury some never learned. That’s why a local program is working to help those adults who never got the chance.
Project Read is a program with a mission to boost literacy for those in Wicomico County. “We work with them at their pace at their level with their work schedule and we just help them achieve their goals,” says Demyra Harvey, program coordinator. Project Read gives those 17 and older a reading lesson plan to better improve their literacy. “For those who just want to get a better job, take college prep classes, get their GED, get ready for their GED or just read with their families,” she says.
According to Harvey, Wicomico is one of the lower-ranked counties in Maryland for literacy; So about one in ten people just in Wicomico alone need this program. She says, “Most people actually adapt and compensate for just making it through school and then they realize they want to increase or they want to get better, or they want to get their GED, want to help with homework so they come to us.”
Harvey tells 47 ABC, you’d be surprised at the number of people who go through life never knowing how to read, whether they had to drop out of school to help their family or have an undiagnosed learning disability they could never overcome. She says, she learned that many of those who are unable to read have lived a unique life to make it this far, but some are ready to take the next step. “So we help them get better at reading, but we learn so much from them and their process of what they had to go through, what did they go through with school.”
Every person in the program has a lesson plan tailored to their needs and abilities, but a general day in Project Read starts with a warm-up or reading game, they work on a skill, take on online-assessment where they also learn basic computer knowledge, practice skills, read, and much more. Harvey tells us, although some feel intimidated by it, she says they all just focus on meeting them where they are. “What I like to say is, it’s confidential, so you come here, it’s a judgment-free zone,” Harvey adds, “There’s no reason to be nervous, we’ve seen it all. We’ve seen it, we’ve heard it, and we’re working with you.”
While the program helps break the stigma of being unable to read, it also shows just how much success someone can find when they just simply reach out for help. “We’ve had authors come out, they’ve written their books, they’ve been able to live on their own, they’ve been able to enter the Wor-Wic GED program, or we’ve had some get a better job, get accepted into their nursing program.” She adds, “It’s been amazing just seeing the light on someone’s face and they’re excited when they get that score on their test and they’re so happy and they’re so thankful.”
For more information about the program, you can visit the Wicomico County Libraries’ website.