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UPDATED: Lt. Gov. Garcia to launch Literacy Initiative

Weeklong statewide listening tour will spotlight
focus on early childhood reading


DENVER - Friday, October 14, 2011 - Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia will launch a statewide listening tour this month to gain local insight and perspective on the critical issue of early childhood literacy in Colorado. A host of community, foundation and education leaders will join Garcia on the Literacy Bus, which will visit 18 Colorado cities between October 17 and 21 and on November 7. The focus of the tour will be on hearing from local education and community leaders and parents on how to support their efforts on early literacy.


“Governor Hickenlooper and I share the belief that early literacy is one of the education cornerstones to building a strong workforce for Colorado’s future,” Garcia said. “We’re joining with communities across the state in a dialogue about what we can do to help ensure every child is a successful reader by the end of third grade.”


The tour, which kicks off October 17 in Steamboat Springs, will feature a series of community conversations with educators, leaders, teachers and parents. All of the forums are open to the public. The objective is to exchange ideas and information on ways to ensure every third-grader reaches literacy proficiency.


Mile High United Way is a lead partner with the Lieutenant Governor on the effort to strengthen early literacy in the state. Mile High United Way CEO Christine Benero and a group of community leaders will accompany Lt. Gov. Garcia on the tour. In addition, Serve Colorado, the University of Colorado Denver, and The Pearson Foundation are playing a prominent role in supporting the tour and working to advance literacy in the state. Mile High United Way recently received a $3.6 million Social Innovation Fund grant to boost literacy advancement programs across the state and is inviting qualified groups to apply for shares of the Social Innovation Fund grant.


“Literacy and education are part of the core of Mile High United Way’s mission,” Benero said. “The tour and subsequent follow-up the Lieutenant Governor is leading will add a completely new level of focus and dedication to ensuring that our children learn to read.”


The emphasis of the discussion will be on identifying and implementing programs that foster literacy from birth through age 8. Data from across the United States consistently show that literacy skills evolve from birth, and the intervention and education at the earliest stages of life are critical to literacy development.


“By engaging in this week-long dialogue, we will learn how communities foster early childhood literacy and what state leadership can do to support their efforts,” Garcia said. “Governor Hickenlooper has proven that this kind of community engagement is the right way to build a movement of support toward a common goal. I’m excited to get started.”


Community conversations tour itinerary (Oct. 17-21, 2011):


Monday – October 17, 2011
9:30 -11:30 a.m. Steamboat Springs, Strawberry Park Elementary School, 39620 Amethyst Drive
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Craig, City of Craig Council Chambers Administrative Building, 300 West 4th Street


Tuesday – October 18, 2011
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Fruita, Rim Rock Elementary School, 1810 J 6/10 Road
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Rifle, Garfield County Library - Rifle Branch, 207 East Avenue
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Glenwood Springs, Sopris Elementary School, 1150 Mt. Sopris Drive


Wednesday - October 19, 2011
11:15 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Montrose, Montrose Regional Library District, 320 South 2nd St.
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Ouray, Ouray School District R-1, 400 Seventh Avenue


Thursday - October 20, 2011
10:30 - 11:45 a.m. Alamosa, Ortega Middle School, 401 Victoria Avenue
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. La Junta, Primary School, 601 Topeka Avenue


Friday - October 21, 2011
9:00 - 10:15 a.m. Colorado Springs, Martinez Elementary School, 6460 Vickers Drive

10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Colorado Springs, Historic Day Nursery, 104 East Rio Grande - ADDED
3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Burlington, Burlington Community and Education Center, 340 S. 14th St.



Tour itinerary (Nov. 7, 2011):
Monday – Fort Morgan, Greeley, Fort Collins, Loveland - Locations To Be Determined


The public is invited to join the Colorado conversation about early childhood literacy by attending one of the meetings and/or visiting: www.literacymatterscolorado.org