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UNITED WAY’S READ TO SUCCEED PROGRAM RESULTS IN 94 PERCENT READINESS UNDER NEW CURRICULUMJuly 19, 2012
UNITED WAY’S READ TO SUCCEED PROGRAM RESULTS IN 94 PERCENT READINESS UNDER NEW CURRICULUM
NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 16, 2012—Although the first day of school is still more than two weeks away, new kindergarteners in some of Nashville’s toughest neighborhoods are ready to read.
Over 94 percent of children completing United Way’s Read to Succeed program initiative tested ready to learn this year, United Way of Metropolitan Nashville Board Chair Margaret Dolan announced today. At the beginning of the reading program nine years ago, only 33 percent of pre-school children were ready for school.
United Way’s Read to Succeed initiative is an early childhood literacy initiative that provides preschoolers with the necessary reading skills in order to succeed in kindergarten.
Mayor Karl Dean joined Dolan along with other United Way officials today at Fannie Battle Day Home for Children to help announce the Read to Succeed results.
Dolan emphasized that children who begin kindergarten without basic reading skills are three to four times more likely to drop out before they graduate.
Read to Succeed recently completed the first year of a new comprehensive curriculum with a central focus on language and literacy development. In this new curriculum, literacy and math lessons are incorporated daily and each lesson provides English and Spanish teacher dialogue for teaching in bilingual classrooms.
The new curriculum represents a higher standard and a major step forward in preparation of pre-school children and is distinguished from other pre-K curricula in the sense that special emphasis is placed on socio-emotional development, which has been found to be an important indicator of long-term educational success.
U.S. Census data indicates there are approximately 7,300 low-income preschool children in Davidson County, more than 1,200 of whom are enrolled in Read to Succeed. Experience has shown that many children from low-income families do not gain the proper skills prior to school, often because their parents lack a strong educational background themselves.
Through the Read to Succeed initiative, 80 specially-trained reading teachers and literacy coaches equipped with age-appropriate books, writing materials and computers work with pre-schoolers for up to two years.
“If a child is ready to read when they enter kindergarten, their chances of finishing school and getting a job when they graduate from high school or college increase dramatically. When this happens, they have a far better chance to become one less drug, crime, prison or homeless statistic and one more success story in society,” Dolan said.
Read to Succeed Sites:
Bethlehem Centers of Nashville
Eighteenth Avenue Family Enrichment Center
Fannie Battle Day Home for Children
Grace M. Eaton Childcare Center
King’s Daughters Child Development Center
Martha O’Bryan Center
McNeilly Center/Nashville Child Center
St. Luke’s Community Center
St. Mary Villa
Wayne Reed Child Care Center
More than 1,300 children have finished the program over the past nine years. The program now operates 40 classrooms at 12 sites serving low-income at-risk areas of the city.
About United Way of Metropolitan Nashville
United Way of Metropolitan Nashville seeks to impact the education, financial stability and health of Nashvillians through partnerships, innovation and return on investment. Last year the organization produced a direct and identifiable impact of $55 million through its 2-1-1 Helpline, Family Resource Centers, Read to Succeed Program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, Restore The Dream Partnership and Outcome-Based Investments. For more information about how United Way of Metropolitan Nashville is positively impacting the Nashville community, visit: http://www.unitedwaynashville.org.