Houston Newsmakers: May 17: METRO and children reading

By Khambrel Marshall - Meteorologist, 'Newsmakers' Host

HOUSTON - The Houston region continues to be the most diverse in the United States -- that's according to the recently released 34th Annual Houston Area Survey.

Stephen Klineberg, Ph.D. is the founding director of the the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, which publishes the report. He is a guest on this week's Houston Newsmakers.

"Sixty-nine percent say transportation has gotten worse more than ever before," Klineberg said.

When asked what the best solution is?

"Overwhelmingly people said: make major improvements in public transportation, including trains and buses," Klineberg said.

He provides much more information about the latest attitudes of Houstonians on this week's Houston Newsmakers.

Also this week, METRO CEO Tom Lambert and board member Cindy Siegel talk about the opening on May 23 of the latest rail lines that will connect from the East end and Third Ward into the downtown main rail line.

"You're beginning to really see how a rail network fits in and then how we're also leveraging tying into an improved bus network that we're also going to rolling out in August of this year," Lambert said.

To celebrate the opening, there will be free light rail rides and a free concert at BBVA Compass stadium on May 23. 

Dr. Lia Rodriguez is director of pediatrics for Legacy Community Health Services.

She and other doctors at Legacy's 12 centers prescribe reading for their patients6 months to 5 years of age, saying that coming from a doctor, parents and children tend to take the request to read more seriously.

"The statistics are staggering," she said. "Children who are not doing well in their reading in third grade have much higher percentages of school failure and drop out and lower college graduation rates so when we look at third-grade reading skills, if we're trying to fix them in third grade, we're already too late."

The Legacy Little Readers Program is accepting donations to make it possible for all children to leave their doctor's appointments with a book in their hands.

Find out how you can help on this week's Houston Newsmakers.

Houston Newsmakers Sunday Mornings at 10am right after Meet the Press on KPRC Channel 2.

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