Murfreesboro City Schools has embarked on an early reading initiative funded through a grant titled Ready, Set, Grow! The grant helps fund two programs targeted at children from birth to age 5.
Ready! for Kindergarten includes parent workshops and toolkits. Ready! for Kindergarten workshops assist families in learning how to nurture their child’s development from birth to kindergarten to help them succeed. The series of three workshops has toolkits for parents to take home for interaction with their children. The primary focus is to help parents become their child’s first teacher.
The second part, Read20, kicked off as part of Read with a Child Week. The simple act of reading with a child every day has a lasting positive effect on children, families and communities. When we read, talk and play with a purpose with children from birth, their minds grow strong and bright and build the necessary skills for success in school and life.
“Every year 40 percent of children across the nation enter kindergarten one-to-three years behind and that’s just not acceptable,” says Dr. Caresa Dodson, Coordinator of Reading & Instructional Interventions. “Some children only have the skills of a 3-year-old while others read like an 8-year-old. This is a large gap which makes it difficult for our youngest students to catch up.”
From birth to age 5, a child learns at a speed unsurpassed the rest of his or her life. Those early learning experiences influence success in school and beyond. When you read with a child for 20 minutes each day from birth through third grade you help develop critical brain connections that shape how children will think, learn and grow.
Waiting until preschool limits a child’s potential. Regardless of the book, or language, reading and talking to infants and toddlers can make a huge difference in raising a reader.
“We want to create a community of readers,” says Dodson. “We are thrilled to join Read20 programs across the state and nation in committing to the basics of early literacy. The more words a child hears from infancy to age five, the more prepared they will be to learn how to read. Words are powerful.”