Educators Take Reading Tools on the Road
Door-to-door visits part of plan to help struggling students.
By Susan Vela, Lansing State Journal, February 8, 2004
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be aware: If your child is in kindergarten or first-, second- or
third-grade, an educator may come knocking on your door.
Ingham County's largest school district formally introduced a
new door-to-door initiative last week called, "On the Road for
Reading." It requires several educators to spend a half-day per
week visiting homes of young struggling readers.
Touching 200 families through informal visits and school reading
nights, the project ensures that children get reading support
beyond the classroom.
"The goal of this project is to motivate readers to be
successful readers," said Sharron Jenkins Norman, the district's
Superintendent E. Sharon Banks launched the $80,000 project,
which will deliver in-house literacy exercises, suggested
reading lists and a locally produced videotape.
The production features footage of former Michigan State
University basketball star Steve Smith and Lansing Mayor Tony
Benavides reading children's books.
"Our 'On the Road for Reading' program encourages parents to
work in the home on building literacy skills at (the) same time
that we are working in school," Banks said in a written release.
"The more hours students spend reading at home, the better their
skills will progress," she said.
Norman said the program takes into account the demands of the
federal No Child Left Behind legislation, which says all
students should read at grade level by 2014.
Reading specialists include parent involvement coordinator
Carolyn Stone; HOPE Scholarship Program Coordinator Rory McNeal
and mentoring specialists Lisa Alexander, Pat Briones and Todd
Alexander was the reading specialist who called Lynn Ahola in
the fall to ask if she could stop by.
Teachers for Ahola's son Abram, a Reo Elementary School
kindergartner, said he could benefit from the program.
Ahola said she looked forward to the visit. Like herself, Abram
has a speech impediment and is starting school like she did - a
self-conscious reader and speaker.
Since Alexander's visit, Abram has tackled more books at home
instead of the video games some boys crave.
"He loves to read," Ahola said. "I'd much rather have him be a
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