The Groveport-Madison school district is ringing in the new year with a new literacy program aimed at kindergarten students.
The Joyful Reading Project was established using a grant that the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio awarded to the district in 2013.
The grant, according to district spokesperson Dee Copas, will provide up to $200 in supplies for at-risk kindergarten students; four Parent Night events during January, including dinner, free child care services and prize raffles; materials for parents to use at home; and literacy training for parents at no cost.
"Our district will be working with 144 kindergarten families around literacy strategies in the home," Copas said.
She said the grant is designed to teach families "how they can help their kids at home to learn the literary skills needed coming into kindergarten."
According to information from the state about the district's reading readiness scores, Groveport Madison has challenges to overcome with some of its students.
The program is one way the district is meeting the challenge, Copas said.
This will be the first year for the Joyful Reading program; however, Copas said the number of families registered is a good sign regarding the community's desire to have it continue in the future.
"We have 438 kindergarten students this year, so the number of families participating represents more than a quarter of those kids," she said.
"Hopefully, with word of mouth from these families, the program will grow in the future."
Copas said all teachers participating in the program volunteered and come from the district's primary schools and the Educational Services Center.
"Through partnering, teachers, parents and the community can help promote the success of our students," Copas said.
"It is the mission of the Groveport Madison schools to 'promote the interests of children by advocating scholarship, good character, and service,' and the Joyful Reading Project is one of the many ways that we will meet that goal," Copas said.