January 05, 2016
Making Progress Bridging the Achievement Gap
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It’s been a busy time since we launched our initiative in August to strengthen family engagement in our Early Head Start program and to read aloud to their children 15 to 20 minutes each day to help us bridge the Achievement Gap.
The Achievement Gap is the disparity that occurs between children from higher income families and those from lower income families. Studies have shown that children from the highest socioeconomic status (SES) have been read to 1,000 hours before kindergarten, while those from the lowest SES have only been read to 25 hours. Children from the highest SES have had 45 million words addressed to them by age 4, while those from the lowest SES have only had 13 million words addressed to them.
In an effort to narrow this gap, we began the program year with a meeting with the families whose children were enrolled in our program. We asked parents to keep a written log of the number of minutes they read aloud to their child each day and to turn in these logs weekly. We gave each family a book and have been holding book drives and asking others to do the same so we can provide additional books for families to read to their children.
Our Family Services team – those who serve as Family Advocates in each of the centers, have been working with family members, along with our classroom teachers, to encourage parents to read to their children and to turn in their weekly reports. They have been holding family engagement activities to encourage maximum participation. The reading logs are pouring in and parents are reading more and more with their child.
As we look forward to the remaining months of our program year, we would like to have more children’s books to share with parents. Yes, we recognize that children like hearing the same story over and over again, but even the most patient parent welcomes a different book from time to time.
You can help us narrow the Achievement Gap by holding a children’s book drive at your office or with an organization you are a member of. We’re looking for new or used books geared to children 0 to 3 years of age. Because we’re a non-profit organization, you may complete an in-kind donation form (found on our website at www.kidsincorporated.org/give) and submit that with the books and count it as a charitable contribution. More importantly, you’ll help provide a family with some new reading material they can share with their toddler and help them bridge the Achievement Gap! (If you have questions about donating books, etc., please contact Judie Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 414-9800, ext. 104).