CCC reading program gets nationwide recognition

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 14, 2006

GETAWAY — A Collins Career Center outreach program aimed at helping young parents has gained nationwide attention for its work with fostering the love of reading among both the teens and their children.

The center’s Graduation, Reality and Duel Role Skills (GRADS) program has been honored by Reading is Fundamental, the nation’s oldest and largest children’s and family literacy nonprofit organization

GRADS offers weekly one-on-one sessions with parents or parents-to-be in all of the county’s middle and high schools.

Email newsletter signup

GRADS teachers offer prenatal and nutrition education, parenting and life skills training and other guidance, based on each student’s individual needs. The program recently gained recognition from

RIF for its family literacy program that gives free books and teaches educational activities to its participants.

Each expectant GRADS teen is given three books a year and each child born into the program is also given three books each school year. The books are purchased through an RIF grant.

The GRADS program is one of only 25 in the U.S. honored by RIF; it was the only one in the state.

Joan Reed, one of CCC’s three GRADS teachers, said, “It’s quite an honor to receive this award; we work hard using the RIF grant to get books into the hands of our teens and their babies. Making reading fun and motivating these young parents to read to their children are ways to encourage emerging literacy skills. We look forward to sharing our strategies and learning new ways to encourage reading.”

Other teachers in the GRADS program are Linda Meyers and Judy Ferguson. The three women have about 115 teens enrolled in the program each year.

“The Lawrence County GRADS program at the Collins Career Center epitomizes all of the essential elements of a high-quality RIF program…” said Dr. Marilyn Smith, RIF vice-president and director of programs. “It is important not only that we recognized excellent RIF programs like GRADS, but that we also mine them for resources and tips that other literary initiatives can learn from.”