Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 14, 2014

KCU launches literacy project

4-week program targets Hispanic families in area

GRAYSON — Kentucky Christian University has launched a summer literacy program for area Hispanic families in hopes it will encourage reading and strengthen family and community ties.

The four-week program, which continues for the next three Fridays, targets families in the growing Hispanic-speaking community in the Grayson area, said Liz Kouns, an assistant in KCU’s Young Library.

Families read three books, discuss them and do related activities during the sessions. Book selections include “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein, “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak and “Abuela” by Arthur Dorros.

All three are Spanish-language editions and KCU was able to buy them through a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Kouns, who is Hispanic and bilingual, leads the sessions, assisted by a librarian and student aides.

Reaching out to the area’s Hispanics is a KCU goal because of what Kouns calls a scarcity of resources.

The Hispanic community in the Grayson area is largely made up of blue-collar and part-time workers and because of language barriers tends to be insular, according to Kouns. She is hoping to change that through the literacy program and possibly other programs.

If the summer program is successful, she will lobby to make it an annual occurrence; already ideas are in the thinking stage for citizenship and classes in English as a second language.

KCU also hopes the program will be a catalyst for regional development in northeastern Kentucky.

“KCU has a long history of service to our community,” said President Jeffrey Metcalf.

“I look forward to a program that will be a blessing to local families and a source of pride for KCU.”

Program sessions are from  5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the library.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

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