My News 13 – Osceola schools to release app to help early learning

This article first appeared on News 13Osceola Reads brings Footsteps2Brilliance to community

Less than 20 percent of children in Osceola County are academically prepared for their first day of elementary school. But a brand new app aims to increase children’s literacy rate countywide.

Ileana Mendez-Szasz and her two-year-old Broderick are already thinking about the future. “I want him to be able to be ready for school,” she said.

The Osceola School District along with the county, Kissimmee, St. Cloud, and the Education Foundation are coming together to give parents a tool to push early literacy. It’s called Osceola Reads Footsteps 2 Brilliance.

“We believe that it will also encourage parents to become involved with this early learning,” said school board member Kelvin Soto. “The reason is because we know the popularity that apps and mobile devices have.”

The app can be used with any electronic device and is free to all families in Osceola.

Right now, only 13 percent of children in Osceola County are ready for kindergarten.

With families coming from Puerto Rico and other places, Soto said English is a second language for many children in the district.

“It is a bilingual application and it recognizes the duality of languages that a lot of our community has,” stated Soto. “So it doesn’t just help young students learn English but it also strengthens their understanding and knowledge of Spanish.”

“It’s something different, it’s something that helps educate. It’s something that is fundamental to a learning curve that our children need to receive at a really early age,” said Mendez-Szasz.

This mom added that it’s never too early to start.

Osceola Reads formally rolls out in a couple of weeks. The kick off for the app is on February 24 at 8:30 a.m. at Ross E. Jeffries Elementary in St. Cloud.

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