Blast off into New Worlds with Literacy

Now, more than any time in recent history, it is so important that stronger literacy connections are made between home and school. Let’s look at the reasons. Reading scores for third graders in the state dropped from 58% passing in 2019 to 54% passing in 2021. It’s never a good thing when the most important critical indicator of life success, literacy, is becoming more and more difficult for children. Add to this pandemic shutdowns and you have an even more concerning situation. The goal of this year’s literacy week is to support the New Worlds Reading Initiative.

Elementary and middle school campuses across the state have activities planned to spotlight the importance of reading and writing. Many have themes that encourage students to wear certain types of clothing like college shirts, crazy socks, or dress up as characters from their favorite books. There will be guest readers, book sharing, campus read-alouds media center tours, drive-thru literacy nights and so much more.

What better time than Literacy Week to check in with parents of students who qualify for the New Worlds Reading Initiative? Your campus should have flyers and other materials to send home to eligible families. If not, contact new.worlds@coe.ufl.edu to get flyers.  

  • Have they enrolled their child? Provide them with this website link https://www.newworldsreading.com/fl/en/home.html. Parents are guided step-by-step through the enrollment process. 
  • Do they have questions about the process? You can find answers to frequently asked questions here. https://www.newworldsreading.com/fl/en/frequently-asked-questions.html
  • Make parents aware that books are available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole
  • Arrangements can be made for book delivery to homeless, transient, and migrant children
  • Open a dialogue about the books their child has already received.
  • Do they have questions about the supporting materials? If they need assistance, perhaps a Zoom conference or face-to-face meeting can be arranged. 
  • Encourage them to have the student bring the book to school so you can provide additional support and celebrate reading success. A true home/school connection.
  • Make sure that parents understand that some books that are sent will be above student reading levels in order to promote caregiver reading with their children.

It’s important that we engage with families to ensure the success of the New Worlds Reading Initiative.

A week set aside to celebrate and encourage literacy is certainly important, but we have to remember that every day is an opportunity to grow skills and encourage a love of reading and writing. Here are some things we can encourage families to do daily beyond the 30-minute a day reading log. You can occasionally include tips on your classroom agenda that encourage everyday interactions with words and reading. These might include the following:

  • Look for words while driving. A fun game is to look for words that begin with each letter of the alphabet on signs.
  • Play I Spy and look for uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Have children help you cook and encourage them to read the recipe with or for you.
  • Visit a bookstore to explore books and magazines.
  • Point out new words when listening to the radio or watching television.
  • Help children learn to read the names of items like toothpaste, food items, etc.

If we are to launch children who are confident, successful readers, we must all gear up and climb on board to share the journey to New Worlds.


Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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