The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

December 19, 2012

Initiative making strong growth in city, schools

By JOSEPH HAMRICK
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — In the past year, the Greenville Independent School District was one of 30 school districts in Texas that was awarded the Texas Literacy Initiative Grant designed to increase literacy in Texas schools.

Davia Madariaga, director for the Texas Literacy Initiative Project, said the program is being put to good use.

“We have six literacy coaches through the K through 12 grades,” she said. “The role is to focus on vertical alignment of literacy activities. We are making certain that all kids are increasing literacy.”

Madariaga said the coaches act as an extra hand for teachers to research the best learning possibilities for students.

“They research the best practices for teachers and mine through data,” she said. “They act as that extra hand and extra help for teachers.”

According to Madariaga, an important aspect to the program is giving the parents tools to help their children read.

“Parents are the first and best teachers of their kids,” she said. “One of the most important things we can do is to reach out to parents to help in teaching literacy.”

Madariaga said the program has been growing and doing well since the program was initiated. Some of the growth has included working with the W. Walworth Harrison Public Library in Greenville.

“It is really nice to have the school and public library work in concert with each other,” she said. “It is bringing in the city arm and school arm to work in concert for the betterment of the citizens.”

A major part of the program, Madariaga said, is to go beyond good reading habits, but also to increase the word power of students as they get older.

“It is more than just building good reading habits,” she said. “It is to get students to understand there is literacy in everything. The more students can read and use words with fidelity, the better they will become.”