L.A. literacy program unites families, boosts kids' reading skills

Los Angeles Times
It's bath, book and bed for 5-year-old Nathan Flores. No TV. His parents learned the importance of routine and reading when they began taking him to a local family literacy program two years ago. Now, a sibling is on the way. Leslie Flores, Nathan's mother, said the program would be great for the whole family. "If they're still around, I'll definitely be taking my baby there," she said. Whether the program that Flores knows is still around, however, remains to be seen. Grants for it have expired. The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to foot the bill for the Family Literacy Project but is proposing some cuts in an effort to keep it sustainable. This year, it's expected to serve 144 families, many of which are low-income and learning English, compared with 200 last year. In a district that enrolls about 650,000 students, the program is tiny but its supporters are passionate.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables