WASHINGTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — LULAC National Educational Service Centers (LNESC) announced today that, as part of their long-standing dedication to enhance the lives of the Hispanic community and to continue empowering students starting at a young age through education, Procter & Gamble (P&G), makers of Crest(R) and Olay(R), and Target are partnering to fund, open and renew Young Readers centers in Miami and Atlanta.
The Young Readers initiative is LNESC’s main elementary school program designed to instill a love of reading in children at an early age as well as to address the problem of low literacy levels in the Hispanic communities across the nation.
As referenced in the website www.schooldatadirect.org, about one in every four Hispanic students (23 percent) in Atlanta fails the state reading proficiency test in third grade, eight percentage points above the state average of 15 percent, while in Miami nearly one in three, or 32 percent, of Hispanic students in third grade failed the state reading proficiency test last year.
For the first time in Atlanta, participating children from Beaver Ridge Elementary at 1978 Beaver Ruin Road, Norcross have enjoyed the after-school reading session which started in November 2009, while the second Young Readers Center in Miami launched their program in October of 2009 at Broadmoor Elementary, 3401 N.W. 83rd Street. All children participating in the program received a special welcome packet with a unique Young Readers t-shirt, school supplies (including pencils and writing notebook), reading materials and a backpack to keep all their supplies.
Comparative data from both schools show a significant improvement in the reading scores among students participating in the program. In Atlanta, 92 percent of the students for whom comparative data are available have improved their reading scores, while in Miami 82 percent have done so.
“Words can’t express our gratitude to Target and P&G for their support to launch the first Young Readers Center in Atlanta and to grow the program in Miami by opening a second center,” said Richard Roybal, Executive Director of LNESC. “Thanks to their funding, we can continue to provide high-quality, educational opportunities to the community and, in turn, close the achievement gap for Hispanics.”
“Hard facts show the pressing need to implement this type of specialized reading program in order to improve the educational attainment of the Hispanic community,” said Alita Vegas, P&G’s Multicultural Marketing Director. “Through our Corporate Philanthropy Cause, Live, Learn and Thrive(TM), we strive to improve the quality of life for these children by empowering them with the necessary tools and literacy skills to overcome these educational barriers.”
The early years in a child’s life are critical to developing a lifelong love of reading and parents can also play a crucial role to further their children’s reading skills at home. LNESC, P&G and Target suggest the following tips to make reading a fun, bonding activity for both parents and kids:
–Read together every day. Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close.
–Give everything a name. Build comprehension skills by playing games that involve naming objects. Say things like, “Where’s your nose?” Or touch your child’s nose and say “What’s this?”
–Read with fun in your voice and be interactive. Read to your child with humor and expression and use different voices. Also, discuss what’s happening in the book, point out things on the page, and ask questions.
–Point out print everywhere. Talk about the written words you see in the world around you. Ask your child to find a new word on each outing.
–Know when to stop. Put the book away for awhile if your child loses interest or is having trouble paying attention.
LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC) is a national, community based, nonprofit organization that prepares America’s Hispanic workforce by providing educational programming, counseling, and leadership development training. For over 30 years, LNESC has led the way in developing innovative and effective strategies to reach out to Latinos, whose academic achievements have long been limited by language, culture, and economic barriers.
As the educational arm of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the country’s oldest and largest Latino membership organization, LNESC is uniquely prepared to address the educational and social needs of its target communities. Since its inception, LNESC has served over 500,000 students and awarded over $15 million in scholarships. Throughout the country, LNESC currently operates 18 educational centers in eight states and Puerto Rico.
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) serves guests at 1,744 stores nationwide and at Target.com. Target is committed to providing a fun and convenient shopping experience with access to unique and highly differentiated products at affordable prices. Since 1946, the corporation has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs like Take Charge of Education. Today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week.
About Procter & Gamble
Four billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers(R), Tide(R), Ariel(R), Always(R), Whisper(R), Pantene(R), Mach3(R), Bounty(R), Dawn(R), Gain(R), Pringles(R), Charmin(R), Downy(R), Lenor(R), Iams(R), Crest(R), Oral-B(R), Duracell(R), Olay(R), Head & Shoulders(R), Wella(R), Gillette(R), Braun(R) and Fusion(R). The P&G community includes approximately 135,000 employees working in about 80 countries worldwide. Please visit http://www.pg.com for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.
SOURCE LULAC National Educational Service Centers, Inc.