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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor announces new literacy program for local students

6/13/2013  11:30:00 AM

Mayor announces new literacy program for local students
Read and Rise will provide training and materials to parents of students from pre-k to third grade

SEATTLE - Today Mayor McGinn announced a new program that will help students in our community reach the goal of literacy by third grade. The new program, Read and Rise, will offer training workshops designed to help parents better support their students as they learn to read. The program will also provide reading materials and training curricula for parents to take home.

"We know from research that students who are not reading at grade level by the third grade are much more likely to drop out of school" said Mayor McGinn. "This new program will help give parents the skills they need to support their kids as they reach this critical milestone."

Read and Rise workshops will be conducted in partnership with schools and community-based organizations; identifying those schools and organizations will be a competitive process scheduled to be completed in July.The program will focus on communities and schools with a high proportion of children who are low-income and who may not have the language, cognitive and early literacy skills necessary for kindergarten readiness and third grade reading success.

"Parents are their children's 'first teachers'" said Office for Education Director Holly Miller. "Many of the skills that kids need to develop early in order to reach that critical third grade reading milestone are skills they learn at home, from their parents who are their first teachers. Read and Rise will help us to ensure that all parents have the tools they need to support their kids as they learn to read."

The family training workshops are to be held in the evenings or on weekends, with literacy instructors working with children while family support worker provide training for adults. Training modules cover five key components of literacy development:

  • oral language
  • vocabulary
  • phonological awareness
  • awareness of print conventions
  • alphabet knowledge.

Read and Rise will begin in the fall of the 2013 school year, and results will be closely monitored to determine whether this investment is having an impact on the success of local students. The program is based on a successful model from Houston, also called Read and Rise. Houston has seen positive results from their investment in Read and Rise, with the graduation rate in the Houston Independent School District at an all-time district high. This two-year pilot program will help determine if the Read and Rise program will help Seattle parents improve in their role as first teacher, changes literacy behaviors of families and students, and improve student reading achievement.

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Office of the Mayor

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