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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Multisectoral reading promotion coalition meets for first time

Carlos Rodríguez Silvestre, executive director of the nonprofit Flamboyan Foundation, said the first meeting of the Multisectoral Coalition for Reading ¡Todos a Leer! “demonstrated a genuine commitment on the part of all the participants to invest and work for a country with a reading childhood.”

By The Star Staff

The Multisectoral Coalition for Reading ¡Todos a Leer! held its first meeting this week with representatives from different sectors in Puerto Rico to draw up a plan to mitigate the lag in literacy in childhood, mainly among students from kindergarten to third grade.

The conclave was held at the Puerto Rico Art Museum and had the broad participation of multiple sectors, including the Department of Education, nonprofit organizations and the private sector. From the working groups, promising ideas and conversations emerged toward developing proposals to help improve reading skills in childhood, especially in the face of the impact of interruptions in the academic calendar caused by Hurricane Maria, earthquakes, the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Fiona.

During the activity, Education Secretary Eliezer Ramos Parés acknowledged that the organizations present “for years have been raising the flag [on the subject of reading] as an emergency situation in Puerto Rico.”

“The future of the country is in this generation that we are forming,” he said. “Being able to sit at the table with the third sector [nonprofits], to be able to outline common objectives and determine that promoting reading is going to be everyone’s main job, fills me with hope.”

Carlos Rodríguez Silvestre, executive director of the Flamboyan Foundation, said “we are very excited and satisfied because the meeting held demonstrated a genuine commitment on the part of all the participants to invest and work for a country with a reading childhood.”

“We know that the reality is overwhelming and that there is much to be done and that just one initiative, project or effort will not be enough,” he said. “However, we also know that we are equipped to deal with this situation and that together we can change it. We owe it to our children. We owe it to Puerto Rico and we are excited to think that we are counting on each one of you.”

Hazel Colón, program director of the Titín Foundation, said that “for Titín it was gratifying to see the multisectoral participation in this effort.”

“We are devoting a lot of time and energy to this project for Puerto Rico,” she said. “We remain committed to the coalition and to making the third sector visible to insert it into this administration.”

On Feb. 14, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and Ramos Parés announced several initiatives in support of literacy development, but primarily identified the strengthening of literacy as a priority for Puerto Rico. During the press conference, the governor and education officials publicly recognized the work of the Multisectoral Coalition for Reading ¡Todos a leer!, a group that seeks, through collective impact, that the children of Puerto Rico read at their level and thus can become proficient, avid and critical readers to fully achieve their academic, professional and personal potential. The coalition’s work is anchored in the road map ¡Todos a leer!, a comprehensive document that resulted after more than 10 years of research and is divided into three parts: Vision for Puerto Rico, Public Policy Recommendations and Essential Practices for the Teaching of Literacy.

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