Standardized test scores in Oakland are lower than in other state and county averages. There are also large disparities by race and ethnicity. 87% of Anglo-American elementary students in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) scored proficient or above in reading compared to 39% of Latino students and 41% of African American students. At Oakland Leaf we strongly believe that if, from the earliest days of kindergarten, parents gain the strategies and support to develop the literacy of their child, their child will approach reading with much more enthusiasm.


Studies have shown that a student’s early literacy skills are the best predictor of that individual’s likelihood of graduating high school and of gauging his or her lifetime earning potential. Consequently, we work with parents so that they have the skills and confidence to read with their children and make it part of their every-day routine. The impact is socio-emotional as children see the importance that reading has for their parents. A large majority of our students are English Language Learners and come from monolingual, Spanish-speaking homes, which results in greater literacy challenges. Our literacy classes begin with our kindergarteners and their parents, but continue through our middle school, high school, and summer programs.


We offer our students an average of 27 hours per week of literacy programming, 10  months per year. Below is a sample of the Literacy classes and activities we offer:


  • Family Reading Night (an annual literacy event for students and families)
  • Journaling
  • Library Day
  • Writing Project
  • Rise and Shine (a weekly literacy events for students and families)
  • Scholars in Training


*Infographic from Oakland Reads 2020 Baseline Report.

From 2010-2012, 91% of seniors in our Roots program were accepted to college.