SHOALS – September 8 is National Literacy Day. This is as good of a time as any to encourage young people to pick up a good book or a recent copy of Kidsville News! and explore new worlds.
The Alabama Literacy Act (HB388) was first passed in 2019 and went into effect at the start of the current school year. The Alabama Literacy Act was created to improve the reading proficiency of public school students kindergarten-3rd grade. It is also to ensure that all students are able to read at or above grade level by the end of the 3rd grade by monitoring the progression of each student from one grade to the next.
Beginning this year, 3rd grade students will have to demonstrate sufficient reading skills for promotion to 4th grade. Teachers are required to test the reading level of children in each early grade at the beginning, middle, and end of each school year using a state-approved test. Teachers are required to give struggling readers extra support and parents will be brought on board and shown ways to help. A read at home plan, including participation in parent training workshops or regular parent-guided home reading activities can also be implemented.
The Early Care and Parent Involvement Committee of the Colbert County Children’s Policy Council wants to foster healthy reading and promote learning. A planned children’s book distribution at the North Alabama State Fair had to be cancelled because of Fair restrictions this year. However, the CPC’s Early Care and Parent Involvement Committee is planning for a distribution event in the coming months.
It is highly recommended that parents read to their preschool-age children regularly. The Courier Journal has been promoting that philosophy locally with Kidsville News! since 2006. The two-time Parents Choice Award-winning publication is a reading and learning tool specifically tailored for children in grades K-6, with special emphasis placed on the critical K-3 ages. Children MUST be reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade or they risk falling behind in later grades. That reading deficiency can result in a lifetime of problems as they try to continue their education and join the workforce after schooling.
Kidsville News! is 24 pages of fun and knowledge printed on high-grade newsprint and distributed free of charge to every child in public and private schools locally. Students for whom reading comes easily can’t wait to challenge their minds each month with the games, puzzles, and interesting articles. These bring science, geography, local history, wildlife, space, culture, weather, and much more to light.
Children who are not as comfortable with reading have the opportunity to take their copy home and have all month to practice their reading at their own pace. It is also a fun time for parents to get involved as they will learn as much reading Kidsville News! as the children will.
It’s fresh and new every month, and local volunteer writers make it a truly one-of-a-kind publication in the US. And the positive impact on our children is proven and documented.
Printing and distributing 14,000 copies each month is not inexpensive. However, several community-minded businesses and organizations help offset most of those expenses. Some understand the long-term benefits so well that they have been sponsoring for all 15 years we have been publishing.
In addition to schools, Kidsville News! is available at all local public libraries and at the Courier Journal office, 219 West Tennessee St. in Downtown Florence. Kidsville News! is also available as a page flip edition online, so children anywhere can read it. And there are separate versions for each county!
For more information, or questions about sponsoring Kidsville News!, please call 256-740-4701.
Until then, encourage the young people in your life TO READ!