Why We Do What We Do

We love our city. Chicago's diverse population, riveting and at times heart-breaking history, and fascinating mix of perspectives make it a unique place to live. The way we view the world is constantly being stretched.

We began our journey in Marquette Park. Andre began his first year as a Teach for America Corp member teaching Social Justice Writing and I got a job at the same school as a Learning Behavior Specialist. Our two years teaching 6th-8th graders at Marquette Elementary School began to show us the immense beauty, brilliance, and resilience of Chicago's youth while making clear the many barriers they were up against. Gun violence, lack of resources, and low reading and math scores were daily realities for a good portion of our students. When general reading instruction didn't produce progress for my kids, I began my Wilson Teacher certification and immediately implemented systematic decoding and encoding instruction into my practice. The results were clear. Students who hadn't been able to access a 1st-grade level text at the beginning of the year started reading.

Since then, we've spent time teaching in public, charter and private schools across the city. We continue to be amazed at the power of research-based instruction partnered with the dedication and hard work of our students. Across diverse demographics and backgrounds, kids with dyslexia, dysgraphia and other learning disabilities are overcoming these barriers with confidence and strength, reminding themselves and those around them of their intelligence and unique giftings. 

We now have two little kids and live in Rogers Park. Our love for the city of Chicago and it's youth manifests itself in a strong desire to pour our specific skills and resources into our little piece of it. Redwood Literacy is one of our attempts to do that.