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Archive for the ‘Literacy’ Category

 

There’s more good news for the emerging early childhood book, I’ll Build You a Bookcase, by Jean Ciborowski Fahey – and for multilingual families.

Last summer, Fahey’s book won the Early Childhood Book Challenge Award, which is sponsored by OpenIDEO and the William Penn Foundation.

Now the book is being published by Lee & Low Books, and the publishing company has chosen an illustrator for the project, Simone Shin.

“The illustrations will play a key role in introducing this book to young children and families, who we hope will pick up and read the book again and again,” Elliot Weinbaum, the Penn Foundation’s program director, says in the release. “Talking and reading with children is how we lay the groundwork for strong readers in the future, even when it seems like they are too young to understand. This book seeks to engage children with its emotionally resonant writing and storyline while giving ideas to adults about how to support early language development.”

That language impact will go far beyond English.

As the press release explains, “25,000 copies of I’ll Build You a Bookcase will be published in five languages for distribution to Philadelphia families: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Arabic. Partners including Reach Out and Read and the city’s campaign for grade-level reading, Read by 4th, will distribute the books to families with young children to help build children’s home libraries.”

The book’s translations are crucial for families and for cities — like New Bedford here in Massachusetts — where parents and community leaders want children’s reading to transcend language boundaries.

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How does the organization Raising A Reader Massachusetts close the literacy gap for young children?

By working with a lot of partners: from parents and nonprofits to community leaders and authors, all of whom work to help children love reading.

Now, thanks to three upcoming events, there are even more ways for people to get involved with the organization.

The goal of Raising A Reader is to “end the cycle of low literacy by helping families across Massachusetts develop high impact home reading routines that lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning, success, and productive, responsible citizenship,” the organization explains on its website.

Raising A Reader teams up with early childhood organizations to teach parents how to use strategies like dialogic reading, where adults engage children in talking about books by asking them questions about pictures as well as about past story events and how the story might relate to something in a child’s life. (more…)

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Children in five cities are going to be exposed to a lot more words.

That’s because Bloomberg Philanthropies has awarded these cities — Birmingham, Ala., Detroit, Mich., Hartford, Conn., Louisville, Ky., and Virginia Beach, Va. — a combined $12 million over three years to replicate Providence Talks.

Providence Talks – “the first-ever Grand Prize Winner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge,” according to a Bloomberg press release – is a language-rich early education initiative that equips children with recording devices that track the words children hear and use each day.

The initiative has had “promising results, helping thousands of young children increase their language development. Today, we’re glad to help five new cities adapt the program and work to achieve similar progress,” Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the 108th Mayor of New York City, says in the press release. (more…)

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Chrissy Howard, the new manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade, sums up her job with a question:

“How can I use any resource I have to help other people get what they need?”

For Howard this a tactical issue and a matter of social justice.

Launched by the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, Reading Success by 4th Grade has engaged the Springfield, Mass., community in the work of helping children become proficient readers by the end of third grade. The organization was led by Sally Fuller, who recently retired.

Howard joined the organization this summer just as it had found a new home at the Springfield Public Library.

“My job is to continue to bring people together and move the work forward,” Howard says. To do this, she has embarked on a listening tour where she has heard about what people need, want, and love as well as “what they found a little difficult; what challenges they’ve overcome, and how they did it together.” (more…)

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“I am all butterflies. Every part of my body is shaking,” Jean Fahey said when she found out she had won the Early Childhood Book Challenge sponsored by OpenIDEO and the Philadelphia-based William Penn Foundation.

OpenIDEO “is part of IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy” that encourages people to tackle a wide range of social problems.

The Early Childhood Book Challenge asked for creative manuscripts that would “inspire children and their caregivers to read together.”

Specifically, the manuscripts had to:

• “Excite and educate caregivers about the opportunities and importance of reading, singing or talking together”

• support early language development by engaging “young children in their earliest years,” and

• “Reflect the lived experience of families living in urban contexts in the U.S., in communities like Philadelphia”

In response, people from five continents submitted more than 500 manuscripts. (more…)

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Sally Fuller

Contrary to what you may have heard, Sally Fuller has not completely retired.

Strategies for Children is excited to announce that Fuller, a long-time colleague and friend, has joined our board.

“I have such tremendous respect for what Strategies has done and continues to do,” Fuller told us recently.

As we’ve blogged before, Fuller worked for the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, where she started in 2005 as the project direct for Cherish Every Child, the foundation’s early childhood initiative.

“The Davis family cares deeply about education. That’s their overarching commitment,” Fuller explains. “They knew Margaret Blood,” the founder of Strategies for Children, “and they brought Margaret to Springfield to work with them.”

The Davis Foundation came to sum up its intentions in a single question, Fuller says: “How can we work together to put children at the center of the community’s agenda?”

“That’s how the Cherish Every Child initiative was started at the foundation, and they needed someone to work full time, so that’s why I went there.”

Fuller, the foundation, and community partners across Springfield worked on expanding early education opportunities and on ensuring that more of the city’s children could read proficiently by the third grade.

“We know from a childhood development standpoint how critical that was,” Fuller says of herself and John Davis (a senior director at the foundation), who had looked at the data and seen that only one third of Springfield’s children could read at grade level by the end of third grade. “We started to do this before it became fashionable. The National Campaign for Grade Level Reading started a year after we did. So, I can very honestly say that we were building the plane as we were flying it.” (more…)

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Why change an organization’s name?

To better share its impact.

That’s why the Parent-Child Home Program has changed its name to ParentChild+.

“People often focused on only one aspect of what we do, early literacy. But our staff, participating families, and program communities know we are so much more,” Sarah Walzer, CEO of ParentChild,+ says of the name change, which was made in April.

The bigger picture is that the organization “uses education to break the cycle of poverty for low-income families. We engage early in life and help toddlers, their parents, and their family child care providers access a path to possibility,” according to its website.

Walzer notes, “Our wonderful network of partners across the country and around the world have engaged with tens of thousands of children and families, working together to transform their lives.” (more…)

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