Early Literacy Skills Program Funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation Gets Underway
Families receive support to help children read proficiently by fourth grade.
SPRINGFIELD, MA (March 29, 2011) – The Talk/Read/Succeed! (TRS) program, an effort to boost early literacy skills, has started outreach efforts to 200 Springfield Housing Authority (SHA) families. The two-year effort was funded with a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant of $390,000 and serves as a major component of the READ! Reading Success by Fourth Grade (RS4G) Initiative, an effort led by The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation to ensure that every child in Springfield is a proficient reader by fourth grade.
“When we began this work, two-thirds of Springfield third graders did not read proficiently,” states Sally Fuller, Project Director at the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation. “Talk/Read/Succeed! engages families in the work of preparing their children to succeed.”
The TRS program will use the family-school-community framework of RS4G to organize the engagement of 200 families living in Springfield Housing Authority units and will actively involve them in building their support for their children’s early literacy skill development. The holistic approach of the TRS program will seek to seamlessly wrap services and education around participating families.
“The model of Talk/Read/Succeed! is one of intensive involvement with families,” suggests William H. Abrashkin, Executive Director of the Springfield Housing Authority. “The way children learn is by looking at the example set by their parents, and if the parents are engaged in literacy then the children learn that this is the way you approach life; this is the way you improve yourself.”
After the outreach effort is completed, the TRS program will offer a series of connected interventions including:
- Parent education to build child development and early literacy knowledge and skills;
- Access to preschool for three- and four-year-olds and literacy-rich summer programming for five- to eight-year-olds;
- Services to help families increase stability, improve health, and progress toward economic self-sufficiency; and
- Development of school-family partnerships that value the involvement of families in their children’s education.
“We’re knocking on doors to find what parents need and are interested in to help their children be successful,” notes Rosemary Hernandez, Program Director (Developing Early Childhood Educators) at The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Inc. “Basically, Talk/Read/Succeed! connects the community, parents, the home environment, and the schools.”
The TRS program collaboration includes The Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation, The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Springfield Education Association, Springfield Housing Authority, Springfield Public Schools, United Way of Hampden County, and a number of community providers.