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Zion Outreach Mission


Zion’s Literacy Program: “Choosing to Read”


“Through church and community effort… this corporation will provide uplifting programs supporting education, economic development, nutrition, recreation, social development, health, safety and spiritual development for residents served by Zion Lutheran Church, Rockford, IL.”
Our mission is carried out with support from partnership agencies as a part of our neighborhood community development in these ways:
· Zion’s Literacy Programs: “Choosing to Read” and “Adults Learning English”
· Food Pantry (Tuesday, Thursday and third Saturday, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Cornucopia Food Pantry, 402 Market Street, Rockford)
· WOW children’s program (September-May on Wednesday at Zion for elementary age youth)
· In The Bag Men’s Group (Wednesday at Zion at 10:00am-12:30pm)

Zion Literacy Programs:

Adults Learning English. Zion has been a home for many immigrants since its foundation. Our 61104 community has been and continues to be an area of Rockford that attracts immigrants from around the world Most recently Zion has served populations of Laotians, Mexicans and, now, Burmese. We have set up our computer lab with Rosetta Stone software, with a grant from Alpine Kiwanis. As a result we have been able to attract a small number of Burmese, Chinese and Mexican adults who want to learn English. We offer this program every Saturday and Sunday from 3-5pm. Every church in the 61104 area code has been invited to encourage people, wanting to learn to speak, read, and write English, to attend our Saturday and Sunday sessions. There is no charge for this service.

Choosing to Read. This program has become a part of our Wednesday afternoon WOW program We weekly choose a selection of books from our over 8,000 volume children’s library that are appropriate for the age group attending WOW that evening. Children are allowed to choose books they want to read and our volunteers check to see whether or not the children have chosen books they can read. Since we have evaluated the reading level of all of our books, our volunteers are able to make certain that the children either take home books they can and want to read, or take home books the children know their parents must read to them. Children are asked to return their book at the next session of WOW


With the loss of SES funding, we have spent our efforts on redoing  and replacing our tutoring program.  We have reworked our after-school program to fit the latest research in how to help struggling readers.  Our new program is based primarily upon the research compiled by Dr. Richard Allington, one of our nations leading authorities in reading.   We are seeking funding for this program by soliciting funds from foundations and individuals.

The heart of our program is based on the belief that children learn to read by reading, and that students will read when they are allowed to follow their interests and given books and materials they can read.

We have developed a children’s library and digital card catalog based on the Lexile level of each book.  The Lexile level of a book is a measure of its readability.  We plan to test each student’s reading ability using tests that measure the student’s Lexile level.  It is then possible to find books and materials that the student can read.

We will continue to have students work in small groups, have one to one interaction and utilize two Lexile based computer programs.  Our commitment to reading will also have us take students to the local public library where we will help each student learn how to find books they can and want to read.

To better understand our program, we have posted two videos on YouTube.  The links are:

Zion's Literacy Program "Choosing to Read"


Digital Card Catalog of After School Tutoring at Zion


We welcome your questions and your support.  Contact Wayne Spitzer (815) 962-3340 or email: spitzer001@comcast.net


“Zion Outreach” is a 501c3 non-profit organization established in 2008!


For more information, contact:
Michael E. Thomas, Pastor
Zion Outreach
925 Fifth Avenue
Rockford, IL 61104

© 2019 Zion Lutheran Church Rockford
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