(May 25, 2012) -- To improve literacy rates across the state, H-E-B is encouraging families to get engaged in their toddler's education through the Read 3 Family Literacy Workshop.
On Thursday, May 17, H-E-B celebrated the graduation of 115 families from the Read 3 Family Literacy Workshop, six weeks of classes designed to help parents and three- and four-year-olds get prepared for success in kindergarten. State Rep. Mike Villarreal delivered the keynote address at a ceremony at the Boggess Center at Harlandale Independent School District, one of the lead partners in the H-E-B program.
Similar to a high school or college graduation, each family walked across the stage and received a certificate of completion. The ceremony was designed not just to recognize the families' accomplishments in completing the program, but also to give them the experience of crossing a stage so they can envision that future for their children.
During the six-week workshop, Harlandale ISD, San Antonio ISD and AVANCE San Antonio provided classroom space and lead teachers to supervise student volunteers from the UTSA College of Education and Human Development as they introduced toddlers to numbers, colors, shapes and letters of the alphabet while H-E-B dietitians taught caregivers how to cook and eat more healthily in the home.
At last week's graduation ceremony, UTSA College of Education and Human Development Dean Betty Merchant praised the families for their commitment to the program.
"The Read 3 program is all about engaging kids early," said Merchant. "The more parents consistently read to their children while they're young, the more prepared the children will be when it's time for them to start kindergarten."
Classes stressed Read 3's central message: Parents should read to their children at least three times a week to help build vocabulary and letter-recognition skills that give children the tools they need to succeed in school. The program also strengthens social skills and helps acclimate young children to a classroom setting before they reach kindergarten.
"Parents are their child's first and best teacher," said Kate Rogers, H-E-B vice president for communication and engagement. "So much brain development happens before the age of five that children cannot wait until kindergarten to begin the learning process."
Rogers also said that children learn and perform better in school when they have healthy food in their stomachs, hence the program's nutritional component. Participants received healthy recipes, free children's books to add to their home libraries, a backpack and t-shirts.
"If parents embrace this concept fully, we could see huge shifts in early literacy skills," Rogers said. This summer, H-E-B will compress the workshop into three anda half weeks and offer it as a ramp-up program for children about to enter pre-kindergarten or kindergarten for the first time.
The H-E-B Read 3 campaign is the brainchild of H-E-B CEO and Chairman Charles Butt, who has a strong commitment to education. In Texas, almost one third of the state's children entering the first grade are living in poverty while one in four Texas pre-school children is not read to on a regular basis.
The campaign has three basic components -- the incorporation of basic literacy and learning into the shopping experience, access to affordable books and community outreach.
Over the last six months, H-E-B has placed literacy centers in 13 of its stores around the state. These centers serve as a community hub for in-store literary events such as story time, character appearances and book signings with popular authors. To promote access to books, H-E-B plans to continue a book drive launched in September to collect one million books, give books with its popular Combo Locos and Meal Deals and offer a discount on a featured book title each month.
The Office of International Programs will host a Study Abroad Fair for students interested in taking their academics abroad.
University Center main corridor, Main Campus
The UTSA Institute for P-20 Initiatives and the Texas Mentoring Partnership hosts the 5th Annual Texas Mentoring Summit. The theme Mentoring: A Pathway To and Through College & Career will focus on the positive impact mentoring can have on student success from k-12 through college and beyond.
Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel, Downtown San Antonio
The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing at the Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory.
Flawn Science Building (FLN 2.02.02), Main Campus
The UTSA Music Department presents Miller-Porfiris Duo (violin/viola) in a performance of period appropriate music as accompaniment to the silent films, "The Great Train Robbery," "The Violinmaker of Cremona," and "Ballet Mecanique."
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The CACP 2016-2017 Speaker Series continues with architect and writer Jason Griffiths of the University of Arizona and Jason Griffiths Architecture. His practice is based on a multidisciplinary approach.
Buena Vista Building, Aula Canaria Auditorium (BVB 1.328), Downtown Campus
UTSA's Department of Music hosts Dr. David Huron from Ohio State University as part of the Donald Hodges lecture series. Huron is a Canadian arts and humanities distinguished professor at Ohio State University.
John Peace Library, UTSA Faculty Center, (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
The UTSA community is encouraged to donate blood and save a life. Donors will also receive a free t-shirt.
H-E-B University Center parking lot, Main Campus
Dr. Stephanie Westney (violin) presents a concert of Mozart compositions as performed by herself and other talented musicians from the university and surrounding area. This concert is free and open to the public.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion annually hosts a Volunteer Opportunities Fair to allow students, faculty and staff to learn about volunteer and service-learning opportunities in the San Antonio area.
University Center, 1st floor corridor, Main Campus
Join the conversation about the experiences of military-connected families in transition. Free parking in the Cattleman Square (along Buena Vista Street). The event is free and open to the public.
Frio Street Building, Riklin Auditorium (FS 1.406), Downtown Campus
School district superintendents and other district leaders responsible for bilingual and ESL programs' administration and accountability learn about cultural literacy, language, and diversity in the community.
Recruiters from across the STEM fields will be present with full-time, part-time and/or internship opportunities. Dress professional and bring plenty of resumes.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
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