Monday, August 23, 2004

Literacy Tips for Latino Families

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- It's a growing trend: more education experts are offering bilingual resources addressing the needs of Latino families. From the launch of PBS's Maya & Miguel family-themed website and television program later this fall, to online resources such as Reading Rockets' www.colorincolorado.com, the message is clear that reaching the growing Latino audience -- even with literacy advice -- demands special cultural consideration.


(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040823/NYFNSF02 )


"Getting children and families of all backgrounds excited about reading requires more than a one-size-fits-all solution," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental, the nation's oldest and largest children's and family literacy organization. "By offering resources tailored specifically to empower Latino families, we're taking an important step in reinforcing positive attitudes and behaviors toward literacy."


To encourage literacy every day, RIF offers families these tips:

* Talk with your children as you play, go shopping or work around the
house. Listen to what they say. Ask questions. When you talk to your
children, you help them learn to use words.

* Let your children see you read. Show them you think reading is important
and that you enjoy it, too.

* Ask older children to read to younger ones. Older children will be proud
of their skills and younger children will want to read like their older
brothers, sisters, or friends.

* Say rhymes, raps, and poetry and sing songs. Rhymes and songs are easy
for kids to remember, so they can say them and sing along with the rest
of the family. Rhymes also help children learn letter sounds.

* Tell stories about your family, and stories you enjoyed when you were a
child. Ask other family members to tell stories, too. Write down these
stories and those your children tell. Save them to read aloud later.


In September, RIF will launch its own special initiative aimed at promoting early childhood literacy among Latino families in the United States. Called "Un futuro brillante empieza en un libro" (A brilliant future begins with a book), the campaign emphasizes the ways families can incorporate into their lives simple, appropriate activities -- many of which families already do regularly -- that will promote literacy among their children.


The core component of the campaign is a comprehensive, Spanish website (http://www.rif.org/leer) that offers tips and advice for families. RIF will also begin distributing two Spanish language television public service announcements (PSAs), featuring television personalities Cristina Saralegui and Jorge Ramos, and a half-hour educational parent video in Spanish.


Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF) works to build a literate nation by helping young people discover the joy of reading. For more information and to access reading resources, visit http://www.rif.org/.

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