Pre-school Literacy Development
December 14, 2014
The main focus of most literacy training today has become ESL. There are other valuable areas which also need to be focused on, such as literacy for seniors and adult literacy. Here is an article about a program in the San Joaquin valley that is devoted to developing literacy in children aged six months to five years. It is a collaboration between a literacy society and pediatricians.
The program is implemented during the first five years of life, which offer a critical window for learning with rapid brain development that does not occur at any other time. Many children, especially from low-income families, are not read to from birth. Experts report that children from more affluent households have been exposed to 30 million more words than low-income children, meaning that they arrive at school without basic literacy skills, and often struggle with reading in the early grades.
Reach Out and Read bridges the gap and is a proven intervention backed by 15 independent, published research studies. During the preschool years, children served by the program score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests, preparing them to start school on target. Being ready to begin learning in kindergarten leads to achieving competent reading ability by the end of third grade. Children who don’t read proficiently by the end of third grade fall behind, and many never catch up. In San Joaquin County, according to 2013 statistics, 66 percent, or nearly 7,000 children, left third grade unable to read proficiently. This setback has dire implications for future education and employment opportunities.
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