FUNDS > Early Literacy
This fund provides free professional learning for childcare and preschool teachers through a program that provides instruction in how to foster early literacy skills in young children. We see this as a huge strategic opportunity to increase the number of children that read at grade level.
There are currently 5.29 million children under the age of 5 enrolled in childcare, and some of their time should be devoted to helping them prepare for kindergarten by being ready to learn to read. It is imperative that we reach these children upstream of an education system that fails to offer explicit, multi-sensory literacy instruction training to teachers in Grades 1-12. Getting kids ready to read is already happening through teachers trained in a research-proven, professional development program called BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® (developed by the Stern Center for Language and Learning based in Williston, VT) which incorporates current science about how children’s brains acquire, adopt, and learn language as a precursor to learning to read. BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® training helps teachers use every current reading curriculum with greater background knowledge and effectiveness.
Today most families have two working parents, and childcare is a custodial and financial necessity. As our nation’s childcare system continues to grow to meet the needs of our estimated 23 million preschoolers, training teachers is a strategic bonanza for promoting early learning and greater reading success. This population of youngsters represents almost 50% of the future students who will be enrolled in our public schools, where their phonological awareness could lift the grade-level reading proficiency and reading performance of the entire education system. BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® is ideally suited to ensuring that at least 46% (and should our Fund be fully realized, all) of these children will enter the system with the phonemic awareness they need to be effective readers.
We are achieving immediate success with our target population of early learners through professional development partnerships with established national organizations such as Head Start. This program serves well over a million children in all 50 states. We are finding that collaborations with these established, successful programs also influence small, owner-operated childcare centers to adopt BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY®.