Kansans are invited to celebrate literacy Sept. 4-10, which Gov. Laura Kelly has proclaimed Kansas Literacy Week.
The proclamation was signed by the governor on Aug. 25 at the Kansas Capitol in Topeka.
“Whereas the Teachers College Literacy Center at Emporia State University – working with Kansas early childhood care and education professionals, Kansas libraries and professional literacy associations – invite all residents of Kansas to join in highlighting the economic and social importance of literacy,” the proclamation said.
Dr. Dennis Kear, previous director of The Literacy Center at The Teachers College at Emporia State University, started Kansas Literacy Week in 2015, said Tasia Markowitz, director of The Teachers College Literacy Center.
“He did this to celebrate and promote early literacy,” Markowitz said. “Early literacy is critical to academic achievements later in life and is linked to higher graduation rates.”
The first week of September was a good fit because National Read a Book Day is celebrated Sept. 6 and International Literacy Day is Sept. 8.
Other initiatives are taking place across the state to impact early literacy.
The Kansas State Board of Education in 2021 allocated $15 million to address early literacy. The initiative – called Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS®) – is a professional learning course that trains educators in the science of reading. LETRS® training is available for free to educators in state-accredited systems.
More than 7,800 Kansas educators have completed the professional development to date, with additional opportunities remaining.
Registration is currently underway for the next LETRS® training cohort, which begins January 2024. To register for or learn more about LETRS, visit https://www.ksdetasn.org/letrs#Elig.
Earlier this month, it was announced that every Kansas child from birth to their fifth birthday can receive free books each month from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Parents can enroll their qualifying child in the Imagination Library of Kansas program at https://kschildrenscabinet.org/imaginationlibrary/
Beginning in 2018, The Teachers College at ESU started promoting Kansas Literacy Week through social media, as well local schools, libraries and child care centers.
“Each day of Kansas Literacy Week, an early literacy component is the focus,” Markowitz said. “Participants are encouraged to ... share their experiences on social media, via email or simply within their own environments.”
Next week’s activities are:
The Teachers College Literacy Center Facebook page will be sharing information about activities and prizes throughout the week. It can be accessed at www.facebook.com/TTCLCESU//.
“We have tracked participants, and each year, we have participants from around 70 counties in Kansas,” Markowitz said. “Our goal is that this activity shines a light on the importance and simple daily routines that can enhance literacy in Kansas.”
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