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Literacy Grant Benefits Three Schools

3/20/09
Literacy Grant Benefits Three Schools

QUALITY TIME — Students and their parents work together in the classroom as part of the Toyota Family Literacy Program now up and running at Chavez, King and McKinley elementary schools.  Spanish-speaking parents learn to speak English while helping their children to succeed in school.

A national family literacy program debuted recently at three Long Beach elementary schools.

Funded by a $600,000 grant from Toyota, the Toyota Family Literacy Program is now up and running at Chavez, King and McKinley elementary schools.

TFLP is the only initiative of its kind to focus on the needs of Hispanic and other immigrant families on a nationwide basis.

In addition to launching the program at these three schools, the funding will allow the National Center for Family Literacy to provide comprehensive support for training, educational materials and technical assistance at each site.  LBUSD is working in partnership with NCFL to implement the family literacy program.

“We deeply appreciate this generous grant from Toyota, and we commend the work of the National Center for Family Literacy,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendent.  “This grant will help us to increase student achievement in the crucial early grades while getting more parents involved in school,” Steinhauser said.

Along with Long Beach, four other cities are part of the latest $3 million expansion of the literacy program: Springdale, Ark.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Las Cruces, N.M.  A total of 191 school districts submitted applications for the five spots.

Created by NCFL, which is the nation’s leader in the practice of raising the literacy level of parents and children simultaneously, the program is NCFL’s signature initiative.  TFLP – which got its start in 2003 and now operates in 25 cities across the U.S. – increases basic language and literacy skills among Hispanic and other immigrant families, and provides parents with the skills they need to help their children succeed in school.  It serves children in kindergarten to third grade and their parents.

Claudia Ramírez, one of the first Long Beach participants along with her son, Jorge, a kindergarten student at King Elementary School, praised the program.

“It has been wonderful for us,” Ramirez said.  “I was afraid to speak English before we enrolled, and Jorge was so afraid to participate in his class – he wouldn’t raise his hand or answer questions.  Now, I am a confident English speaker and Jorge is much more comfortable in his kindergarten classroom.”

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