Literacy event with special guest Miss Kansas

The FHSU Language and Literacy Institute, in partnership with Hays Masonic Lodge 195, will host a Family Literacy Night from 5:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, September 15. Special guest Miss Kansas Ayanna Hensley will share with attendees the story of how her sophomore teacher saved her from a life of poverty, violence and drug addiction by starting a book club after the school just for her. Hensley is an FHSU alumnus and Rudd Scholar.

Families are invited to attend this event to listen to Miss Kansas, play games and possibly win prizes. Hays Masonic Lodge 195 will be serving hot dogs, fries and drinks beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The event will mark the grand opening of FHSU’s Language and Literacy Institute at its new location, The United Methodist Campus Ministries, 507 Elm.

The language and literacy institute offers free in-person and online reading lessons provided by initial teacher education students as part of their required internship experience. In addition, it provides resources to families at Family Literacy Nights to enable them to support literacy at home.

Volunteers from FHSU’s Language and Literacy Institute will begin tutoring struggling readers at Topeka Correctional Facility this fall. Additionally, volunteers from the institute will begin offering English classes to community English language learners and Ukrainian refugees in eastern Kansas this fall.

Registration is ongoing for free reading tutoring sessions starting September 20. Those interested in the sessions can email Dr. Sarah Miller at to learn more and to register.

“Many of our country’s social problems, such as poverty, are rooted in an individual’s inability to read properly,” Miller said. “Every semester I tell future teachers that they are learning to be superheroes. They can literally change the trajectory of a child’s life by teaching them to read. Giving someone the power to read is amazing. .

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