Do You Read Me? Cops Head to Schools to Help Kids Read

A new literacy campaign partnering eight schools in southeast Houston with local police officers is aimed at making sure at-risk youths have the tools to succeed. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The Stomp Out Illiteracy campaign targets disadvantaged children in high-crime areas, using police officers and other members of the community as mentors to make sure the kids learn to read. HPD will adopt eight schools that feed into Yates High School and follow students as they advance through all 12 grades. This is Houston police officer Kathy Swilley.

"Most of the people in prison, most of the kids are 85-percent functioning illiterate and you have another high set of numbers of adults that have a problem with illiteracy. So we feel that if we work with the children starting in the first grade and give them basic skills, tutoring and send mentors as role models into the schools, that will help the kids in the long run."

The literacy campaign is made possible through the Texas Cops and Kids and Kids at Hope initiatives and includes after-school tutoring help, field trips and reading programs. Hartsfield Elementary principal says having police officers involved is an important part of the campaign.

"Instead of seeing them when there's a problem, we want our students and our kids to see them when there is not a problem and they are doing and saying positive things to them, not when they have done something wrong and they are in the limelight but when they've done something positive and then they are put in the limelight."

You can find out more about the campaign on our website, KUHF.org.

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