Professor of Education Marga Madhuri lead the second installment of the spring Faculty Lecture series at noon on Tuesday in the President’s Dining Room to discuss the upcoming “University of La Verne’s Ninth Annual Family Literacy/Math Conference,” taking place on March 22 at the University.
Madhuri said that by attending the event, families not only learn skills to improve the learning capabilities of their child, but they also gain support and build connections with the community.
“Nine years ago we started with 50 participants. Now, this year, we anticipate 600,” Madhuri said. “We present activities families can do on the everyday that can improve the literacy of their child.”
Madhuri observed schools from different areas and noticed parents from higher income families supported their children to become more literate, versus low-income parents who did not create that kind of support.
The idea for the event started after Madhuri observed schools in Montclair and Azusa, areas with a large percent of bilingual and low income students.
She knew there was a way to change the literacy level of the children.
The activities at the conference encourage kids to explore their environment and off video games. The presenters try not to make the activities a nuisance to parents.
“Definitely excited for this event,” said Jessica Poole, graduate student at the University of La Verne. “I am a student here interested in children development. I was looking for ways to become more involved.”
Madhuri encouraged people to volunteer and emphasized how much help is needed at the event.
“The people who volunteer get so much out of it,” Madhuri said. “They can observe the interactions between the children and their caregivers as they’re helping out.”
She hopes to provide all the information so that every child has the opportunity to be successful.
“I don’t want children not going to college because they didn’t know,” Madhuri said.
She said that the event also helps promote the college without advertising it.
“Sometimes I ask myself after doing this event for several years, does this make a difference with just one day a year?” Madhuri said.
Data collected from previous years showed that 32 families that attended the event used activities shown at the event, even after three months.
Many said they felt uncomfortable on a college campus before the event, but after the event, they felt relaxed and welcomed.
Families also appreciated that the event was and continues to be free. They said they enjoyed the family time and interaction with other similar families.
Lynn Stanton-Riggs, department chair for education of teacher development, said that the department has been supporting Madhuri since day one.
“She is amazing,” Stanton-Riggs said. “She is highly involved.”
Madhuri urges faculty and students to bring their family. Stanton-Riggs said that she tries to encourage her son to come and bring his family.
To register for the event visit laverne.edu/education/events/family-literacy/.
Gabriela Krupa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.