AWC Detroit Celebrates National Reading Month With Westside Christian Academy

AWC Detroit marched into National Reading Month by sponsoring local author Cindy Orlandi's visit to Westside Christian Academy on Tuesday, March 19. The visit is part of AWC Detroit's advocacy program, "Driving Literacy in the D." AWC Detroit's advocacy program hopes to shine a spotlight on successful efforts to advance literacy in Detroit.

Cindy Ordandi at Westside Christian Academy

Cindy Orlandi, a member of AWC Detroit and author of “Love is a Dog and Some Crayons…Weimaraner Coloring,” will be reading to Westside’s first graders alongside Bennie, her Weimaraner rescue therapy dog. Cindy Orlandi is a resident of Woodhaven.

“It is a real pleasure to share my love of dogs and reading with the young students at Westside Christian Academy,” states Orlandi. “I hope my visit will inspire the children to read more. Westside Christian Academy has achieved amazing success in getting the majority of students to read at grade level.”

Henry Wells, Ph.D., director of Westside Christian Academy, speaks to the school’s success:

“Nearly 80 percent of our first, second and third graders’ reading scores are at grade level. Any child who is not at grade level at the end of the school year is placed in the reading remediation program ‘Beyond Basics.’ We attribute our success to a small student-teacher ratio and the supportive atmosphere of the school. We are honored to have extraordinary teachers like Lucinda Washington, who holds a master’s degree in Early Reading Education, to be teaching in our lower school.”

Detroit’s Westside Christian Academy’s success rate is remarkable when considering that in 2018, Detroit Public Schools ranked last in the nation on standardized test scores, with only 5 percent of fourth graders demonstrating proficiency in reading and 7 percent in math.

Deniella Ortiz-Lalain, president of the AWC Detroit, says that as professional communicators, AWC members understand the vital link between literacy and success.

“Our chapter is making a commitment to promote literacy,” she said. “Our group recognizes the impact that the literacy crisis is having on the citizens of Detroit. It’s our hope that we can shine a light on programs that are making a difference in our community.”

Additionally, AWC Detroit will be conducting a book drive with students at Walsh College on behalf of Westside Christian Academy in conjunction with Orlandi’s visit in April. Driving Literacy in the D is the heart of AWC Detroit’s advocacy program. Members are encouraged to participate and bring their unique skills to the program.

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The Association for Women in Communications (AWC) Detroit Chapter is dedicated to advocating for women’s needs and honoring communication excellence. Established in 1938, the chapter supports the advancement of members by connecting women from a diverse range of communications professions. AWC Detroit provides professional development, volunteer enrichment opportunities, and insightful programs on hot topics and leading trends in communications.

For more information contact: Melinda Kollins at

Source: Association For Women in Communications - Detroit Chapter


Categories: Literacy

Tags: Detroit, Education, Literacy, Schools

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