L.A. literacy program unites families, boosts kids’ reading skills

Aug 10, 2014 by

It’s bath, book and bed for 5-year-old Nathan Flores. No TV. His parents learned the importance of routine and reading when they began taking him to a local family literacy program two years ago.

Now, a sibling is on the way. Leslie Flores, Nathan’s mother, said the program would be great for the whole family. “If they’re still around, I’ll definitely be taking my baby there,” she said.

Whether the program that Flores knows is still around, however, remains to be seen. Grants for it have expired. The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to foot the bill for the Family Literacy Project but is proposing some cuts in an effort to keep it sustainable. This year, it’s expected to serve 144 families, many of which are low-income and learning English, compared with 200 last year.

In a district that enrolls about 650,000 students, the program is tiny but its supporters are passionate. They rallied in May when they feared the program would end when the grants expired.Supt. John Deasy in June said he would find $500,000 in the district’s budget to support the program for one year. Funding previously came from the Toyota Foundation and First 5 Los Angeles.

“This is one of the most effective programs I have ever seen,” school board member Steve Zimmer said in a June statement. “Engaging parents and young children simultaneously has proven effective in both lifting and stabilizing families.”

Some of the program’s advocates, however, express concerns over potential changes.

via L.A. literacy program unites families, boosts kids’ reading skills – LA Times.

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