October is National Book Month in the United States, and the perfect time to celebrate literacy and the joy of reading. As a collective impact network, Future Ready Collier is committed to encouraging reading among children and families as a way to learn and grow together, and as a key factor in students’ success in school.
Why Reading in Early Childhood Matters
The benefits of shared reading start early! And a love of words and reading sets a student up for later success in school and life. One of Future Ready Collier’s main goals is to ensure all children are ready when they enter kindergarten. According to pediatric experts from the Cleveland Clinic, there are many benefits to reading during early childhood that contribute to school success. These may include:
- Reading a story aloud to a child helps them begin to recognize and develop their own language abilities. It’s a great way for children to hear new words and learn their meaning.
- Reading together promotes social connection between children and parents or other supportive adults. Story time encourages connection and bonding.
- Young children have to learn how to get around in the world socially as well as academically. When you read a book to them, they can explore what it’s like to feel and respond to different emotions, such as when a character is sad or excited.
- Busy parents who find it hard to establish a regular routine may find that a bedtime book is a good way to wind down from the evening, and show your child it’s time to sleep.
How Southwest Florida Supports Reading and Literacy
There are many organizations across Southwest Florida, including members of the Future Ready Collier membership network, that are dedicated to supporting access to reading materials and literacy.
A terrific starting place is the Collier County Public Library system. There are Collier County Public Library locations all across Collier County, including Marco Island, Everglades City, Golden Gate, and Immokalee. The library is free to join for any Collier County resident, and includes access to all the library’s books, eBooks and other digital resources, internet access, and all the incredible programs and services the library system offers throughout the year.
Earlier this year, Future Ready Collier shared information about its network member Room to Read, a global organization dedicated to ending illiteracy. Room to Read works closely with communities where they have learned there aren’t enough books. Authors and stories are identified, and Room to Read publishes books that are culturally and linguistically approachable for families.
For instance, in Southwest Florida, Room to Read has been working on creating a group of books in Haitian Creole, which is almost ready to be distributed. Haitian Creole is the third most commonly spoken language among students of the Collier County Public Schools, but there are almost no books readily available in their language. Room to Read brings people together around a shared love of reading, knowing that literacy is the foundation for school and life success.
Nonprofits Create Out-of-School-Time Learning Opportunities
Many of Future Ready Collier’s network partners are social service organizations that complement and extend the work done by the schools. For example, the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County’s Ready Readers Program connects kids in the Club age 6 to 12 with reading coaches for one-on-one help with vocabulary and literacy. Also, their Power Hour is designed for students from age 6 to 18 to have a chance to receive hands-on homework help and tutoring.
At the Guadalupe Center, in addition to offering a fully accredited early education program, after-school tutoring is available for students as early as kindergarten. This sort of early support is shown to have an impact in helping kids meet their academic milestones more easily, and to continue to thrive as students. Grace Place for Children & Families hosts programs for literacy across the family, including parents. Family literacy through Bright Beginnings helps parents help their children, for their shared benefit.
For a person who struggles with literacy, reading may feel intimidating and emotionally stressful. It also makes it hard for that person to advance in school and in their work. Future Ready Collier works closely with its partners to foster the conversations and actions needed to deliver needed resources in the community. These and many other organizations are changing lives daily through their work. To learn more about Future Ready Collier’s work related to literacy, or any of the organizations named here, please contact us at email@example.com.