Raising A Reader(r) program begins distributing book-filled bags to preschool children to help them enter kindergarten ready to learn to read
* United Way and The Boeing Company partner to bring Raising A Reader(r) program to Wichita
* Nationally-tested program addresses problem of one in three children entering kindergarten lacking basic pre-reading skills
WICHITA, Kan., June 6, 2007 -- Preschool children at three child-care centers today took home bright red book bags filled with picture books. These aren't just any book bags. These are book bags designed to "raise a reader." They are just one part of a program designed to address a developing crisis in America-children not entering kindergarten ready to learn to read. The program, called Raising A Reader, is a nationally-tested program that United Way of the Plains and The Boeing Company have brought to Wichita. The program 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. 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 are beginning the program June 6. 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