Company: Literacy Rescue
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Michael D. Hirsch, founder at Literacy Rescue, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in personal development.
Working in the South Side of Chicago as a teacher, Mr. Hirsch was dismayed by the high percentages of dyslexia in the American population, 20%, which becomes even higher when considering the incarcerated population, at more than 50%. Viewing this as an epidemic, Mr. Hirsch made it his mission to identify students struggling with this condition, which exists from birth, and help them find the best way forward.
Resolving to tackle dyslexia utilizing a multi-sensory approach, Mr. Hirsch developed Literary Rescue, putting into practice a lifetime of teaching experience from kindergarten to college, and refining his time-tested techniques with the addition of special education best practices. Too many students, in Mr. Hirsch’s opinion, do not receive the kind of support needed for dyslexia management, and this can lead to frustration that will only exacerbate the underlying problems. According to Mr. Hirsch, “If students don’t have a third-grade reading level, their chances of becoming incarcerated increase dramatically.”
As stated by its website, the mission of Literacy Rescue “is to combat illiteracy, reaching out to those challenged by circumstance or dyslexia by creating educational programs that provide comprehensive, sequential, and multi-sensory reading instruction in underprivileged areas.” The 501c3 organization achieves its goal by establishing scholarships to help students, as well as by coordinating groups of volunteers to make a difference directly.
In addition to his work with Literacy Rescue, Mr. Hirsch has found success as an author since 2021, including with his book, “This Is What I Need From You: How to bring out the best in your subordinates and yourself” in 2023. In his opinion, the book showcases Mr. Hirsch’s talent at building confidence in people and helping them realize their full potential.
Before embarking on his professional path, Mr. Hirsch pursued an education at Oakton College where he earned an Associate of Arts in liberal arts in 1993. He continued his academic efforts at Northeastern Illinois University, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1996 and a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration in 2019. At Chicago State University, he graduated with a master’s degree in physical education in 2003. Currently, he is pursuing a master’s degree in multi-sensory learning and holds a certification in special education from Roosevelt University.
Beyond his responsibilities within the field, Mr. Hirsch has participated in numerous endeavors outside of his professional circles. He held the role of board president and executive director at Literary Rescue and he works with dog rescues. In light of his impressive undertakings, he has accrued several accolades throughout his career. He was presented with the Project Hope Award from Straine Consulting in 2014 and recognized as coach of the year nine times between 1999 and 2004. He was a finalist for the National Junior College Coach of the Year in 1999 and named Goal Buster of the Year and Sales Rookie of the Year by Dental Health Products in 2011.
Mr. Hirsch attributes his success to the strong work ethic that his mother instilled in him, the support of his family and friends, and his mentors. In the immediate future, he intends to start a program for rehabilitating prisoners in every prison in America. Additionally, he desires to develop an application for Literacy Rescue and eliminate the relevance of dyslexia to the learning process.