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University of La Verne Family Learning Conference to Draw 1,000

Oceans of Learning Literacy Event

Marga Madhuri told students at a Glendale middle school in February that she is learning a second language by reading children’s books in Spanish. What’s her secret to faster learning? She said it’s being proficient in her native language.

“I could pick up Spanish more quickly because I was already literate in English,” said Madhuri, a professor in the University of La Verne’s LaFetra College of Education.

The message resonated with the children so much that 14 of them are coming to the University of La Verne on April 28 for the 13th annual Family Learning Conference, which centers around activities that children can do with their parents at home to improve their academics in the classroom. More than 1,000 preschool through 8th grade students are expected to attend with their parents and other family members.

John Archambault, the bestselling author of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, is one of 15 authors who will talk to children about their work. University of La Verne education students, along with teachers from local school districts, will show children how to create comic books with an iPad, write a novel, experiment with a 3D scanner, and offer healthy eating tips.

The Glendale students will give presentations that encourage Spanish-speaking parents to teach their children how to read and write in their language. That will ultimately help them learn English more efficiently.

“A couple of the kids, even though they learned (to speak) Spanish, didn’t learn to read or write in Spanish,” Madhuri said. “They consider it a disadvantage.”

Two students from Claremont High School, who started a book club at their school, will share with children how they can start their own book club.

University of La Verne students Laura Tooma and Gina Spencer, who are pursuing teaching credentials at the university’s College of the Canyons location, will give a presentation called “Super Shapes.” They will show children and their parents how to learn math concepts by building shapes with simple items found around the house.

Madhuri said some children have come every year for the last five years. And aspiring teachers get the experience of interacting with parents, something that can be considered stressful in the professional world.

“This is one of those events where everybody wins – the people who volunteer love it, the parents love it, the kids have a good time. That’s why I keep doing it year after year,” she said.

The event – organized by Madhuri and Associate Professor of Education Dr. Andy Steck with the LaFetra College of Education – is supported by the Webb Family Enterprises. The organization will provide food for the event, as well as shipping costs for the more than 1,000 books that will be given away to children.

Event Details

  • What: The 13th annual Family Learning Conference
  • When: Saturday April 28 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: Sneaky Park at University of La Verne, 1950 Third St.
  • Information: Marga Madhuri, 909-448-4673 or; Andy Steck, 909-448-4633 or