Toyota generous with literacy program

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2006

&8220;Through literacy you can begin to see the universe.&8221;

&8212; Grace Slick

Thanks to a very generous contribution from the Toyota Family Literacy Program (TFLP), the needs of Hispanic and other immigrant families in our county will be better served moving forward. TFLP was first launched in 2003 to increase basic language and literacy skills among Hispanic and other immigrant families, and provide parents with the skills they need to help their children succeed in school. The program specifically serves children in K – 3rd grade and their parents.

Three Shelby County schools will receive a total contribution of nearly $600,000 from Toyota, including a $350,000 grant to launch programs at Valley Elementary School, Creek View Elementary School and Meadow View Elementary School.

Toyota will also provide funding for three years of comprehensive support from NCFL including training, educational materials and assistance in launching the programs.

According to information provided by Toyota, the first five communities that initiated the literacy program have had wonderful results, including:

u Significant literacy gains by adults

u Ratings for children in the program that exceeded peers in areas including academic performance, motivation to learn, attendance, classroom behavior, involvement in classroom activities, and other areas

u Demand for the program has produced waiting lists at the majority of program sites

u By the end of the first program year, 70% of participating families held a library card

Shelby County Schools are one of five systems in the nation to receive contributions this year so we should be thankful not only for what Toyota has done but for what undoubted members of the Shelby County School system did to help make this a reality; very rarely does generosity such as this appear out of the thin blue air.

More likely, much work and effort went into applying for the program so those &8220;behind the scenes&8221; should also be thanked for a job well done