Prime Time Family Reading Time happens Monday, Nov. 6, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Prime Time is a six-week program designed to kick-start reading between parents and their children at home. Parents with children ages 6 and older will commit to sharing in reading, meals and fellowship. Sponsored in part by Florida Humanities Council, the program includes a book discussion.
During the ceremony, Linda Getzen, president of the Library Foundation of Sarasota County, announced that the Gulf Coast Community Foundation was donating another $100,000 to the library, and Deborah Kostroun, president of the Friends of the Venice Public Library Inc., revealed that the Friends of the Venice Public Library were committing $350,000 as the cornerstone of a new capital campaign in support of the library.
The program's expansion this year is the result of a public-private partnership that also includes the school district and new donors. Funding also comes from federal Title I dollars, district money for non-Title I schools, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.
Community Foundation of Sarasota County President and CEO Roxie Jerde joined Vice Chair Nelle Miller and other board members and donors in reading to Gocio Elementary School second-graders. And they came bearing gifts.
Each student received a copy of “Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures.” Students followed along in their books as readers recounted Flat Stanley’s harrowing adventures through the pyramids.
Early literacy is a key pillar in United Way Suncoast’s mission to break the cycle of generational poverty. We know that children who aren’t reading at grade level by 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of high school, so we seek every opportunity to prepare our youngest residents for future success.
United Way of Central Florida Success By 6 received money from the GiveWell Community Foundation for the Imagination Library with the staff and children at Salvation Army’s HALO Center in Lakeland. The children received a copy of “The Little Engine that Could” and participated in many hands-on activities.
There are currently 129 HIPPY programs operating in the United States; including 14 in Florida, from Miami-Dade County to the Panhandle. Each program is funded separately, but most use a combination of local, state and federal money.
Luckily for Hendry and her granddaughter, the Children's Board of Hillsborough County has been consistently supporting the program for years. The average cost in the county is between $2,000 to $3,000 per child. That includes the salary of the trainer, all school materials, and in Hillsborough, wraparound mental health services.
But there is good news for the children in Sarasota and Manatee counties, where philanthropists, school officials and community leaders have come together to embrace the efforts of the national campaign. After only two years of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, test scores are already showing results. In both counties, the number of third-graders reading at grade level improved by 3 percentage points year over year.
Both Manatee and Sarasota improved incrementally in the number of third-graders reading proficiently this year, with 3 percent gains over last year; 51 percent of Manatee’s third-graders are on grade level, and 71 percent in Sarasota.
The campaign has targeted school attendance, school readiness, summer learning, child health and parental support as being vital to improving child literacy rates. This has led to several initiatives in the region in the past year, including Reach Out and Read, which provides books for pediatricians to “prescribe” to their young patients, a dental sealant program for children in Sarasota, attendance promotion initiatives, summer reading rooms and partnerships with community organizations focusing on child health and literacy.
Eighty percent of low-income students across the entirety of America can’t read proficiently at their grade level.
For many involved in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading in Manatee and Sarasota counties, that statistic, announced by Yolie Flores, senior fellow with the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading Thursday, is troubling and scary.