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Cross Title I program creates personal connection with families, promotes literacy

Published Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Motheread 11.27.18

Those attending the November 27, 2018 Motheread/Fatheread meeting at Cross elementary reviewed "Her Seven Brothers" written and illustrated by Paul Goble. (BCSD photo)

A small group of Cross community members gathered in a classroom at the elementary school on Tuesday. The group meets there regularly with a heavy focus on one of the most important skills developed at an early age.

Though small in numbers, approximately 20 on most meeting days, the group's work to promote literacy is praiseworthy. Its value is immeasurable.

The Motheread/Fatheread Program at Cross Elementary has been in existence for more than a decade. The volunteers involved, administrators that work to support it and teachers will tell you it continues to benefit the students.

"Our teachers have told us they've seen results from those who have participated," said Cross Elementary Title I Facilitator Lashonda Pelzer.

Led by BCSD Legacy Legend Julia Wright, participants read and discuss children's books. They then go back to their homes, family gatherings, churches and places of business to share a copy of the book and the lesson each literary work contains.

An acute observer of a meeting will notice Mrs. Wright is very intentional with her approach to each book and how its substance can be applied to everyday living.

"What we put into children, we get back," Wright said. "If we instill in children a love for reading, a love for people, we will see the difference in the community. I'm hoping that's what I can do here as a facilitator of Motheread/Fatheread."

The Motheread/Fatheread Program forces memorable face-to-face engagement, encourages parent involvement and establishes personal connections with participants and their families. Those involved argue its design is more important than ever as studies show Americans are spending more than 40 percent of their days engaging with screens.

"She (Mrs. Wright) brings these books to life for us," said participant Peggy Pinckney.

Mrs. Pickney's children attended Cross schools, and she's been involved in Motheread/Fatheread Program since its creation.

"I just kept coming because the program was so interesting and so very good," she said. "I learn something each time I come here. It's a very good learning experience. It's family-oriented as well."

Mrs. Pinckney said though her school-age grandchildren do not attend the gatherings, she does take the books back to them and share the lessons. She has also become somewhat of an ambassador of the program.

Motheread meeting 11.27.18

Program facilitator Julia Wright shares the words of a Native American prayer with the group. The group's book on November 27, 2018 shared a Native American legend. (BCSD photo)

"I tell my husband about them (the books). I tell other people about it -- my neighbors," she said.

That's the type of experience Mrs. Pelzer and other Title I facilitators at BCSD schools want participants in such programs to have.

"We want them to take it and teach it to their families," she said. "...We feel that if we make it known that if we have this program, they will have an opportunity to come and gain understanding and more ways to help children at home."

Additional information about Title I programs at BCSD schools can be found in the federal and state programs section of our website.

Brian Troutman