READ TO ME FOUNDATION
HOW OUR BOOKS HAVE HELPED!
Hello Donna and Dondino:
Your visit to us last week brought a gift like no other.
The donation of 700 beautiful hard-bound books and backpacks will be distributed to Head Start children. Rarely do we have hard-bound books avaiable for children and it is even more rare that we have books in both English and Spanish.
Thank you for remembering the Head Start Pogram with your kind donation. We look forward to a partnership with both of you and the Read To Me Foundation.
I have attached our outline for distribution and use of your wonderful donation of bilingual (English-Spanish) children books.
Georgia A. Sheriff, Ph.D.
Drake University Head Start
3206 University Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa
The Drake University Head Start program serves over 1000 children and families in a six county area (Polk, Boone, Story (Ames only), Jasper, Marion and Warren. Many children in the program have a home language that is not English. During the 2011-12 program year, child home languages included English, Spanish, Caribbean languages, Middle Eastern/ South Asian languages, East Asian languages, Pacific Island languages, European and Slavic languages, African languages, and other unspecified languages.
Drake University Head Start has made the area of literacy a priority and tries to provide books to each family multiple times throughout the school year. This allows for the parents to read to their children and serve as their child’s teachers in the home environment. Every attempt is made to provide bilingual books as needed; however, this has been a challenge due to the limited number of bilingual books that are available and the increased cost of these books.
Drake University Head Start was the recipient of over 600 books and back packs from the Read to Me Foundation. These books will be distributed to children and families when Head Start classrooms begin in the fall of 2012. The books provided by the Read to Me Foundation meet needs that typically cannot be met for our children and families:
· Access to books at home is very limited for most of the children Head Start serves.
· Hard cover books that can hold up to a preschool-age child reading them over and over again.
· Having books that are truly bilingual. There are so few appropriate books for preschoolers that are written in both English and Spanish. Often, we have to provide separate books or we insert translated text into a book written in English. It is rare that children and families participating in the Head Start program can have bilingual books in their home.
The books provided by the Read to Me Foundation will greatly assist with our program’s literacy efforts and also help our program meet requirements for community donations. The donation of books from the Read to Me Foundation is also significant for the Drake University Head Start in that it assists with our Federal Grant requirement for a 25% community match for funds received. Related to Head Start funding, the program is required to provide over $1.6 million dollars in community donations, volunteer time, and other contributions. The donation of the books from the Read to Me Foundation will allow us to count the cost of the books as Non-Federal Share, which will amount to several thousand dollars. In addition, once the books are distributed to the children’s homes, the program will be able to count the time that the families spend reading the book and completing any activities that are sent home with the books as volunteer time. This will generate a large contribution to the program and will help the program move closer to reaching the $1.6 million dollar requirement.
First, a big thank you for the incredible bilingual children books. I would like to share with you the justification of our need for these boooks.
We seek avenues to provide children with their own books because we know through research that the more books there are in the children's home, the more likely the child is to enjoy reading and be a good reader. We know that children need to read fluently in order to be successful in school, therefore, providing books that encourage both children to read, and adults to read to the children, support the goal of academic success. The bilingual books also allow parents to model reading behavior, which is very important because parents are a child's first and best teacher!
Here is what we have done with the books so far:
1. Our district teachers who work with English Language Learners (ELL) provide the books to the children to aid both the child and the parents, who typically are not fluent in English and may not be literate in their language of origin, I also share some of the books with colleagues of mine from other metro districts who have specific families they are working with who are bilingual
2. We are providing books to each of the children attending Kids' Cafe at two sites (Delaware and Mitchelville Elementary). Through this lunch and literacy program, we offer children ages four years through those entering 5th grade the opportunity to engage in fun learning activities and receive a healthy lunch. Because we know that many of these children come from food-insecure homes, we also send children home with a shelf-stable bag of food to eat later in the day.
3. Our school-based 4 year-old preschool program will be using the books in their classrooms, and classrooms will be able to provide each family with a book (we have 261 openings, and many of the children are sibling pairs).
Thank You again for books we so desperately needed
Cathy Beck-Cross, MSW, LMSW
Central Place Family Resource & Communit Educaton Center
6540 NE 12th Ave
Pleasant Hill, Iowa