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Deeper than Phonics: The Read’em-to-Freedom Family Literacy Campaign 

About This Session


Join us for this half-history, half-inspiration, and wholly revolutionary session! We will uncover the catalytic power of families to convert literacy into freedom. 

What we'll cover:

Calling all difference-makers, change-seekers, influencers, game-changers, radicals, and those who want the ball in the last 13 seconds on the 50-yard line in the Super Bowl. As inspired as we are as organization, school, classroom, and thought leaders, we all need a revival. And this is our moment to remember why we wake up and go to sleep with our missions on our minds!

We have some deep issues to discuss, wrestle with, and solve.

If you have not heard just yet, we are in a state of illiberacy. Our unnervingly high rates of illiteracy and under-literacy continue to cause the slow erosion of liberty for all and threaten the fullness of democracy for which we are consistently striving. 

Story Square, an evidence-based education social enterprise, decided that we absolutely would not adopt the John Mayer approach to change and wait on the world to change for us. 

Instead, we preferred to lean freely on the Harriet Tubman change philosophy. Her trailblazing philosophy encouraged dreamers to be proactive, reminding them:

“…you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  

So, we asked ourselves: How can we yield the most transformative impact for the benefit of our future? 

First, we pin-pointed, like most conference attendees, that the cornerstone for intellectual thriving and growth is literacy – the ability to read, write, comprehend, analyze, and differentiate written texts. 

Then, we identified the most critical system to our civilization’s survival. Family! Families are unparalleled influencers. We believe that the family unit possesses the capacity to create the greatest impact and most sustainable change for our future.

But that was not enough to actualize the change we wanted to create. 

Our research and experience revealed that these two cornerstones, literacy and family, come together at just the right angle to frame a formidable nexus. And this nexus gives birth to freedom.

Thomas Jefferson would have appreciated our modern tactic to attack illiteracy as a weapon of ignorance that stands to cripple freedom. In an 1816 letter to Charles Yancey, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, he wrote, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.”

In the time that we have to share, we will march through the logic of how families have what we have been seeking all along. Families have the power to illuminate the wonder of literacy that will offer our future the freedom currently absent in our state of illiberacy.

Come ready to revolutionize what you believe about the role of families in the campaign for literacy. We will go deeper than phonics. Together, we will get energized, inspired, and focused on how the catalytic power of families can convert literacy into freedom with the Read’em to Freedom campaign.

Topics & Focus

Primary Topic Area
topic - parent & family literacy
Session will also cover:
topic - diversity, equity & inclusion
topic - advocacy, public awareness


Handouts & Materials

No handouts or materials available at this time.

Stephens, Fran-Victoria

Presenter: Fran-Victoria Stephens
Organization: Story Square

ROLE decision makers
LEVEL intermediate
Case study?

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