AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension is building literacy skills in Hispanic families in the Sioux City area, according to Sherry McGill, director for Iowa State University Extension’s Region 5.
Family Storyteller is an early literacy program designed to increase the amount and quality of time parents and young children spend together in literacy activities, McGill explained. So far this year, ISU Extension Family Program Specialist Nancy Nicho has served more than 200 people, partnering with the Even Start program in Sioux City and other locations.
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During six workshops, families receive free books to take home and read together. Nicho gives parents tips on reading books with children, such as using expression as they read, pointing to pictures and labeling, reviewing and retelling the story, having children predict what will happen next and linking the book to real life.
One of the secrets to the program’s success is that parents and children participate in literacy activities together, McGill said. Family Storyteller improves literacy and increases English skills in both the parents and their children.
This is one example of ISU Extension’s work in Region 5, covering Monona, Plymouth and Woodbury counties. McGill is one of 20 regional extension education directors. The positions were created a year ago as part of ISU Extension’s restructuring plan to facilitate an issue-based approach to delivering ISU Extension programming and resources. McGill works directly with county extension council members to meet their legal obligations as an elected body. Together they are identifying new ways to work across county borders, provide educational programming that addresses significant issues and evaluate the results of multi-county and regional efforts.
To learn more about ISU Extension programs, contact McGill at 712-276-2157 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the ISU Extension website, www.extension.iastate.edu.
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, 515-294-0775,