Our new literacy initiative

Our media organization is embarking on a literacy initiative, beginning in this week?s issue. I feel it may be one of the most important initiatives we have undertaken. It can be found in the center of the back-to-school Section B.

The weekly feature, called ?Kid Scoop,? is for the benefit of children from kindergarten through fifth grade. Older Marion County residents may want to play with the weekly Kid Scoop full-color page as well.


A student who can?t read on grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate. The ability to read is critical to a child?s success in school, life-long earning potential and their ability to contribute to the nation?s economy and its security, according to the American Educational Research Association.


Wet tested a sample page with some kids in the target age category and they loved it. Our plan is to roll it out in the entire Free Press distribution area beginning first with Hillsboro Elementary School. The page will be completely new and different each week through?out the year.

After seeing it, all of the elementary teachers in K-5 in Hillsboro requested papers for their classrooms and we will be inviting all of the other schools to adopt it as well.


We would like to thank Ampride, Hillsboro and Marion; Great Plains Federal Credit Union (Hills?boro branch); Greenhaw Pharmacy, Hillsboro; Lanning Pharmacy, Marion; and Midway Motors, Hillsboro, for helping sponsor this literacy initiative. We couldn?t do it without you.

We have additional opportunities for sponsorship. Insightful companies could have the satisfaction of partnering with the Free Press to enhance student literacy through sponsorship of newspapers for the classrooms at a low cost.

The Free Press will be providing newspapers for K-fifth classrooms in its distribution area during the 2015-16 school year at no cost to the districts.

The Kid Scoop page will feature not only news and recent events for kids, but our plan is to also include creative writings, artwork and more from our schools. You will be able to give the lifetime gift of learning by placing papers with the Kid Scoop page in the hands of students?and encouraging real-life writing, business and literacy experiences for students.

By providing newspapers to students in partnership with the Free Press you will be:

? Supporting the effort to promote lifelong learning and literacy.

? Transforming students into interested, active Marion County citizens.

Studies have shown that participation in the Kid Scoop program in other areas of the country have helped students improve their school performance?by an average of 10 percent better test scores, according to a 10-year study conducted by the Newspaper Assoc?iation of America.


Additional restaurants I should mention?thanks to you, our readers?are the Nickle Back and the Chuck Wagon, which were located at 107 W. D St. next to Dean Schroeder Motors, which is now Wright Motors. The building has been replaced with storage units now.


If you have never had green bean with ham and potato soup in the summer you don?t know what you are missing. Just finished the last bowl that Nancy made for the kids? visit and it got better each time.


If you wish to share your comments or ideas, my e-mail address is joel@

Written By
More from Joel Klaassen
Save the dates for annual Hillsboro reunion
If you are a graduate of Hillsboro High School, I would be...
Read More