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Toyota Launches Literacy Program For Hispanic And Other Immigrant Families In Three Winston-Salem Schools


Toyota today announced that three Winston-Salem elementary schools will be among the newest sites for its successful Toyota Family Literacy Program (TFLP). TFLP -- the first nationwide program of its kind to focus on the needs of Hispanic and other immigrant families -- is coordinated by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), the country’s leading advocate for family literacy.

Toyota has contributed $600,000 to fund the program at Easton Elementary School, Latham Elementary School and Old Town Elementary School. The three schools all have Hispanic student enrollment of at least 50 percent.

TFLP -- which got its start in 2003 and is now functioning in 10 cities across the U.S. -- aims to increase basic language and literacy skills among Hispanic and other immigrant families, and provide parents with the skills they need to help their children succeed in school. The program specifically serves children in kindergarten to third grade and their parents. TFLP is unique in that it incorporates NCFL’s multicultural family literacy model, which combines key components including: ESL courses, early childhood education, parenting education, Parent and Child Together (PACT) activities, and computer-literacy instruction. Toyota has donated $26 million to the program since its inception.

In addition to the launch at these three schools, the funding will allow NCFL to provide comprehensive support for training, educational materials and assistance at each site. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is working hand-in-hand with NCFL to implement the family literacy program.

Besides Winston-Salem, four other cities are part of the latest expansion of the family literacy program: Chula Vista, Calif., Wichita, Kan., San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando, Fla. A total of 155 school districts submitted applications for the five spots, all vying for part of the overall $3 million grant from Toyota.

``It is a great honor to be one of the few school districts to receive this grant,’’ said Dr. Don Martin, superintendent, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. ``If parents can improve their reading skills, they will be better able to help their children excel in school.’’

Early results from the TFLP programs already implemented include:

* Significant literacy gains by adults, the majority of which improved their literacy scores by one or more levels;
* Ratings for children in the program that exceeded peers in areas including academic performance, motivation to learn, attendance, classroom behavior, involvement in classroom activities, and other areas;
* 70% of participating families holding a library card by the end of the first year;
* Waiting lists at the majority of program sites due to high demand.

``Partnering with Toyota, NCFL has nurtured a proven formula of research and delivery of family literacy services that not only works for the participants, it works for the betterment of the communities,’’ said Sharon Darling, president and founder of NCFL. ``And, we’re proud to say, our path to success here in Winston-Salem has been set by the impressive gains made by thousands of TFLP participants in family literacy programs throughout the nation.’’

``As we expand the successful Toyota Family Literacy Program into communities across the country, we continue to hear the tremendous success stories from thousands of families in diverse communities,’’ said Patricia Pineda, group vice president, legal, philanthropy and administration at Toyota Motor North America. ``We’re thrilled to partner with NCFL to bring the program to Winston-Salem and we look forward to making even more positive and lasting contributions to students and families.’’


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