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Article of Interest - Literacy

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Bridges4Kids LogoLansing 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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Lansing parents, 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 curriculum director.

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 Webb.

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 bookworm."

    

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