“WITS builds foundational literacy skills” – WITS CEO Tena Latona

Tena LatonaMission & Outcomes

For the last three and a half years I have been the CEO of WITS and I have been proud to support the WITS staff in creating opportunities for every student in Chicago to be literate.

Foundational literacy skills

WITS builds foundational literacy skills and positive attitudes towards reading for thousands of CPS students every year. We do this by connecting students and mentors for yearlong literacy enrichment programming. We do this by supporting teachers with high quality professional development. We do this by giving books to teachers for their classrooms and to students for their personal bookshelves at home. Together, these components make WITS the largest and most consistent provider of literacy programming to Chicago Public Schools.

WITS matters because reading matters.
  • WITS matters because our community can influence the literacy outcomes of thousands of students in the fourth largest school district in the country.
  • WITS matters because our model empowers students in the most disinvested schools and communities across Chicago. 
  • WITS matters because reading is the most necessary skill among all types of jobs across the entire U.S. economy. 
  • WITS matters because strong peer adult relationships in schools and consistent relationships between students and adults promote positive attitudes toward school, encourage regular school attendance and influences a student’s chance of going on to higher education. 
  • WITS matters because we know that students who are proficient readers when they leave fourth grade are 4 times more likely to graduate high school.
The leader in our city at supporting the literacy outcomes

The pandemic has negated gains that CPS had seen for years in fourth grade reading proficiency. Today only 28% of CPS fourth graders are proficient readers, in 2019 that number was 40%. Let’s revisit what I said earlier, students that are proficient readers by the fourth grade are four times more likely to graduate high school, and again, right now, only 28% of fourth graders are proficient readers. This is where WITS fits in. Our school communities need us to help each of our students develop into strong readers and the great adults they will all become. 

By donating to WITS, you are ensuring we have the funds necessary to be the leader in our city at supporting the literacy outcomes for our students.