College for Creative Studies students Shane He, 23, Nikki Roacks, 20, Sahra Eldaly, 26 and Michelle Merriweather, 22 share a laugh during a presentation on mobile apps developed by The College for Creative Studies students designed to benefit United Way on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 at the Compuware building in downtown Detroit. The app, designed to encourage parents to read books to their young children is scheduled to go into Beta testing in February/March of 2013. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Jarrad Henderson) DETROIT NEWS OUT, TV OUT, INTERNET OUT, MAGS OUT, NO SALES, MANDATORY CREDIT DETROIT FREE PRESS
DETROIT (AP) — DMC Sinai Grace Hospital, software company Compuware Corp. and students from Detroit’s College for Creative Studies are collaborating on a child literacy program that aims to get parents to read to their children for at least 15 minutes per day.
For some time, the parents of new children born at the Detroit hospital have been receiving a free children’s book a month through the United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Early Literacy Initiative. The program aims to help children from poor families overcome a common education skills gap.
Last fall, the United Way turned to Compuware for help in tracking the families’ participation in the program, the Detroit Free Press reported (http://on.freep.com/YM2HSp ).
The software company paired its concept developers with a dozen students from the college for a 15-week process of conceiving and designing an Internet and smartphone-based application to measure and report on the reading.
The finished product is due out by early spring and will offer encouragement and added incentives for the parents and children such as child-rearing tips and video game-like “badges” for each completed book.
Organizers say the goal is to engrain a reading habit in each child.
“This is a really important tool to help our kids be kindergarten-ready,” said Amanda Itliong, family literacy manager for the United Way. “You think, ‘Oh, I’ll send my kid off to preschool and then they’ll be ready for kindergarten.’ But that’s not enough. You have to start these habits in the home from Day 1.”
The students got class credit for the work, and some are being considered for job openings once they graduate, according to Compuware.
“A lot of these things I didn’t learn until after I left school,” said Blake Almstead, a Compuware creative director and adjunct professor at the college.