Current Project

// The Detroit Literacy Project

Nearly half of Detroit’s adult population is functionally illiterate due to poor curriculum.


To solve this issue, Starts With Soap created a full-fledged literacy program which features individualized and group learning, one-on-one reading and vocabulary tests, and interactive activities to encourage creativity and critical thinking amongst students with limited access to resources. After launching a pilot program last spring, SWS made several adjustments with teacher feedback to arrive at the fully comprehensive and ready-to-implement program it has today. The updated program emphasizes a high level of teacher autonomy as well as a balance between differentiation and cross-level collaboration, and also pairs technology use with handwritten work in its holistic approach toward education. The vision behind the program was born from the stunning statistic that that 50% of Detroit's adult population is illiterate, which makes job search and economic mobility nearly impossible. With its updated program in hand, SWS aims to provide support for students who are at vulnerable risk for joining this statistic in hopes of instilling within them not only a love of the written word, but also the basic communication skills necessary to succeed in life.

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Chief Program Officer Rose Wong and members of the University of Michigan SWS Chapter meeting with teachers at Bennett Elementary.