Cindy Puryear

Cindy Puryear is the Elementary Director of Literacy for the Houston Independent School District (HISD). "The children that don't hear stories, don't know how to tell stories. You have to be able to tell a story before you are able to write a story," said Cindy, over discussing the literacy issue in Houston.

After discussing what we could do to help fix this issue, Cindy answered, "What we need to do is recognize that it is about early intervention. We cannot be waiting until children are in the 3rd grade, in danger of not being able to pass a standardized test, to get them to start reading. We need to start very early."

Cindy believes that, "We need to realize that reading starts by being read to. That is reading. The power of building language and comprehension all starts with read aloud. As teachers, we need to make sure that our students are exposed to good literature and good conversation."

"Another big thing is that we need to make sure students have access to books that they can actually read. Because what happens is, children fall behind and then they are given this steady diet of books that are too hard for them, which makes them hate reading."