The Mile High United Way in Colorado recently awarded grants to a number of early learning programs in the state. About $3.6 million in Social Innovation Grants were awarded to early literacy initiatives, and the programs awarded were selected through site visits and other data.
The grants are intended to help get more kids reading by age eight and have been promoted by Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration. The projects included $400,000 set aside for the Early Steps to School Success program administered by the Save the Children Federation to be implemented in Costilla and Alamosa counties, the Alamosa Valley Courier reported. The program helps parents prepare children ages five and younger for school through home visits and other methods. Officials hope to help about 500 children, with an emphasis on reading and literacy.
Alamosa school board official Christine Haslett told the newspaper that the program is especially helpful in a rural area where resources are limited. ”When a program like this is brought to us, the benefits are immense changes in the lives of students, parents and siblings,” she said. “It is far reaching.”
Elsewhere, the Clayton Early Learning Center in Denver also received funds, according to The Denver Post. The center encourages a method known as “diologic reading” with toddlers, with adults stopping periodically while reading to their toddlers to ask questions.
“For example, in a story for toddlers about a bunny stopping to find carrots, the adult would point to the bunny and ask, where do you think the bunny is going next?” Learning Center President Charlotte Brantley told the Post. “It gets the children really engaged, immerses them in the vocabulary of the book and increases their comprehension.”
The Colorado Parent and Child Foundation also received funds for its Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters–or HIPPY program–and Parents as Teachers.
The Mile High United Way estimates that funded programs could reach about 24,000 additional children with the grant assistance.