Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Scarlet Smith
PORTALES—Dr. Jeanne Cobb, associate professor of reading in the College of Education at Eastern New Mexico University, is the director of a Verizon Literacy Foundation Grant to provide community outreach services in literacy education. She initially received the $71,000 grant while employed at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, and brought the grant with her when she came to ENMU in the fall 2002.
Dr. Cobb says, "This project is very exciting and rewarding to have the opportunity to put books in the hands of children. We know that many children in New Mexico do not have access to books in their homes or even to books in a nearby public library. This project provides literacy materials and books to families so that children can succeed at school."
The project involves 18 ENMU reading master students who are required to plan and design a family literacy project and to implement the project in their local communities. Some of the projects include parents and their children learning about literacy strategies, teen parents learning about enhancing their children's literacy development, caregivers in an adult facility for the mentally challenged, pregnant teens learning about reading to their babies and enhancing their language development, middle school science students and parents learning about literacy activities in science, and bilingual parents of preschoolers and kindergarteners learning about literacy and how to help their children be successful in school.
ENMU education master's student Pattie Donovan says, "This has been a wonderful opportunity to work with the families that are interested and involved in their children's reading education." Blanca Banuelos, ENMU education master's student, says, "This program is allowing parents to see their children grow through literacy and also become involved in their education progress."
As a result of this large-scale family literacy initiative in the state of New Mexico, Dr. Cobb has also been chosen for a Scholastic Literacy Partners grant that has awarded the project large discounts on books for family literacy projects to make it possible for approximately 2,700 books to be given to children in Portales, Clovis, Hobbs, Ruidoso, Roswell, Tucumcari and Artesia.