ALPENA, Mich. —Literacy is a vital part of a child’s academic success and economic well–being, but the National Education Association says only 53 percent of children between ages three and five are read to on a daily basis. Alpena Public Schools is aiming to change that by setting literacy goals this year.
Parent engagement coordinator for Alpena Public Schools, Lee Fitzpatrick, says, “For students not able to read for themselves, that can be them reading to by a parent, family member or friend. For those that can read on their own that could be them reading to the parent or another person, or just for their own enjoyment.”
Fitzpatrick says literacy is especially important in low income areas, because these students typically spend less time immersing themselves in books.
“One out of every two families in our community qualifies for free and reduced lunch programs. Those are generally used poverty measures. We know that research shows us that students who grow up in poverty have more difficulty with reading. If we want to build great readers and great academic careers for our kids, it’s something that we can fix quite easily and cheaply.”
Parents and students have access to the library and a program called Freecycle, where people can get gently used books at no cost. Fitzpatrick says simply setting goals for your kids can alter the course of their academics and financial future for the better.