United Way and The Boeing Company partner to help children enter kindergarten ready to learn to read
* Partners bringing Raising A Reader(r) program to Wichita
WICHITA, Kan., March 21, 2007 -- One in three children enter kindergarten lacking basic pre-reading skills. As a result, a high percentage of these children never develop strong reading abilities. That's why United Way of the Plains and The Boeing Company are bringing the Raising A Reader program to Wichita. It addresses this crisis with a proven method that helps preschoolers spend time each week in a parent's lap-reading their favorite storybooks together. These children will enter kindergarten already in love with the printed page-ready to learn to read.
"I once had a conversation with a local school administrator who said children were entering kindergarten having never seen a book," said Patrick J. Hanrahan, president of United Way of the Plains. "The children had no idea what those black lines were that we call words. That was a call to action. I'm so pleased that Boeing has answered that challenge. Their investment, through a generous grant, will help us make a significant difference in the lives of local children with this Raising A Reader program."
What is Raising A Reader?
Each week, for 12 weeks, preschool children are given a bright red book bag filled with beautiful picture books to bring to their parents. The book bag quickly becomes a child's favorite toy and children beg their parents to read to them. Parents receive an orientation that gives them creative "read-aloud" strategies, even when the parents cannot read themselves. With Raising A Reader, parents can revive story-telling traditions as old as mankind, reading aloud with their children and a magical set of picture books.
Who is involved with the local Raising A Reader pilot?
United Way of the Plains has recruited several partners including the Greater Wichita YMCA (through its 12 child-care centers), the Wichita Public Library and the Wichita Metropolitan Transit Authority. Funding is provided by a special grant from The Boeing Company.
How will the local pilot work?
United Way is providing training for the 12 YMCA child-care centers, three of which will begin the 12-week program in June. The remaining nine sites will begin in September. The program will involve 90 preschool instructors and 375 children. Instructors will provide an orientation session for the parents and will give the children four new books each week.
What are the expected results of the program?
Multiple independent studies of Raising A Reader in other communities have shown changes in reading behavior. Evaluation highlights include: increased reading frequency, increased library use and increased kindergarten readiness.
Research overwhelmingly supports the premise that "the single most important activity for building understanding and skills essential for reading success appears to be reading aloud to children." (Bus, Van Dzendoorn, and Pellgrinin, 1995)
CONTACT: Delane Butler, Vice President of Marketing, 267-1321