355 Goshen Road, PO Box 909
Litchfield, CT 06759

EdAdvance Head Start: Prenatal to Five
Receives Books for Ownership Matching Grant  
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) announces the recipients of its 2017 matching grant program to support local literacy champions who are making a difference in the lives of children across the country. EdAdvance Head Start: Prenatal to Five will receive a combination of books and literacy resources to implement BOOKS FOR OWNERSHIP to benefit 249 children in Litchfield County.

"Reading Is Fundamental is committed to creating a culture of literacy in communities nationwide.  Reading is the necessary foundation for all children that puts them on the pathway for success," says RIF President and CEO, Alicia Levi. "For over 50 years, Reading Is Fundamental has supported local literacy advocates with the resources they need to impact children in their communities."

Every child deserves an opportunity to own books, learn how to read, and obtain the fundamental building blocks needed to achieve their highest potential, yet 25 million children in the United States cannot read proficiently (see  1 below). 1 In addition, 34% of children entering kindergarten lack the basic skills needed to learn how to read (see 2 below). By the fourth grade, 65% of children are reading below grade level (see 3 below).

Books for Ownership Matching Grant Program
This competitive grant program focuses on access and choice and gives students in communities throughout the country the opportunity to participate in RIF's flagship program and select new, age-appropriate books to take home. The program's integrated approach to literacy provides supporting resources to teachers and inspires children to learn through two annual events focused on motivational literacy activities, community involvement, and book selection.

The first family literacy event was held on Friday January 26, 2018 at the EdAdvance campus in Litchfield.  Over 40 volunteers from the Litchfield High School Acts of Kindness Club performed for or served the EdAdvance Head Start: Prenatal to Five families by performing musical skits from children's favorite books. 30 of the volunteers were costumed characters who were available throughout the evening for photos, autographs and as part of the performances.  Each performance involved audience participation.  Other volunteers assisted with craft projects which included decorating a book bag to carry their new book home. Volunteers also offered face painting, signing guests in, and distributing the books donated through the Reading is Fundamental Books for Ownership program.  Families also received literacy activities to enjoy home with links to Literacy Central, a website sponsored by RIF filled with fun reading activities and resources for families and professionals.

About Reading Is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content to create impact, and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success.  As the nation's largest nonprofit organization for children's literacy, RIF has provided more than 413 million books to 40 million kids in all 50 states.

About EdAdvance Head Start: Prenatal to Five
Head Start provides an array of comprehensive, quality services, including health, nutrition, parent support, education, and mental health, to children ages three to five and their families. The program's vision is "each child and family leaves Head Start healthy, eager to learn, and ready for success." Program staff work closely with families to ensure that each child has the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in kindergarten.

The Early Head Start program provides services to infants, toddlers, and pregnant women in Torrington and Winsted through home visiting and socialization.
1.  Based on an analysis of NAEP test scores.
2.  Council on Early Childhood (2014). Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice. Pediatrics 134(2): 404-409.
3.  National Center for Education Statistics. The Nation's Report Card: A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading.

Contact: Patti Palermo
860.567.0863 ext. 191