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New Program Aims to Increase Literacy Among African-American Youth

By: Krystle Crossman

Parents should be involved in their child’s education whether they home-school or not. It is essential to the learning process. That extra reinforcement can make a huge difference in a child’s life. A former teacher named Karen Kalish is trying to create a movement where parents become as involved as they can in their child’s life. This new movement is called “Home Works!”

The basis of the program is that a teacher from the program is paid to go to the student’s house and work with the parents to help them become more engaged in their child’s education. Kalish says that it is unrealistic to think that parents can always come to PTA meetings so this service helps bring the meeting to them. She says that most of the time the parents have no idea what their child is being taught in class so they are not sure how to help them when they come home with their homework.

It is found that low-income schools and homes are the ones that need the extra engagement the most. Many parents are working multiple jobs in order to afford to live which means they have less time at home to become involved with school activities and school work. A district in Saint Louis has already partnered with Kalish. The superintendent, Kelvin Adams, said that they believed it was the right fit for their schools. He said that sometimes it is hard for the students to get caught up when they are in class if they are falling behind so this is a good supplement for their classroom education.

A kindergarten teacher said that this program has helped her get to know her students better and understand their home life a little more. She says this helps in class as she knows what they are capable of and what kind of support they are getting from their families. Kalish says that the goal of the program is to help the African-American youth increase their literacy skills.

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