Manatee County considers buying literacy program for pre-schoolers

MANATEE -- County officials Tuesday said they would consider purchasing a literacy program for young children designed to improve their reading.

The program, called Footsteps2Brilliance, uses game-like animation and story-telling, along with interactive features, to help pre-schoolers learn to read or to improve their reading skills, according to a presentation at a Manatee County Commission workshop. It would be app that could be used on cell phones and tablets.

If county officials choose to go ahead with a purchase, its goal would be to ensure the most vulnerable children are prepared when they arrive for kindergarten, because many times, if they are unprepared, they later fall behind academically, said Diana L. Greene, deputy superintendent for instructional services at the Manatee County School District.

The program would be purchased at an estimated one-time cost of about $120,000, and could be provided to pupils through various partner agencies, officials said.

The app would be available to help 1,200 3- and 4-year-olds that would be entering kindergarten at schools that qualify for federal enrichment funds, said Greene at the session at the County Administrative Building.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.