Former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady, Barbara Bush joined Governor Jeb Bush in Naples Friday night… for the fifth annual celebration of reading. The event raised $1.5 million for the Governor’s Family Literacy Initiative. Florida’s Celebration of reading has funded 115 family literacy programs throughout the state since 2001. Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings says more than 9000 Floridians have learned to read in that time, thanks to the program. Jennings, who’s also attending the event, says 92% of the people in the program are parents who wanted to improve their own reading skills, so they can help their children.
“There can’t be anything more frustrating to a parent than a child come home from school and say mom or dad can you help me read this, can you help me with this problem and the parent themselves not be able to do that. Most of the participants in this program live in this country and average of only 8 years before they become participants. More than half of them do not have English as their first language and only about 25% of the parents speak English at home. We’re trying to make sure that Florida families assimilate into our culture and yet keep their own.”
The governor and his family have been outspoken advocates of literacy nationwide… as has the current first lady, Laura Bush, a former librarian. A new grant will provide businesses with matching funds to offer six-month paid internships to 16 adult students in Southwest Florida. The initiative will also form a committee to compile the best practices of grass-roots programs, including the Immokalee Foundation, to develop a pilot for program curriculum, assessment, teacher training, recruitment and retention.
Monday, 21 March 2005 00:00