Getting Books into the hands–and minds–of children throughout Delaware
Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood is Spreading the Word on Literacy during the 100th Anniversary of Children’s Book Week
Children’s Book Week (CBW) is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. This year, CBW is celebrating its 100 anniversary from April 29 – May 5.
For the past three years, the University of Delaware’s Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood (DIEEC) has recognized this important initiative by coordinating read aloud sessions at early education and child care programs throughout the state. This year, dozens of volunteers from UD, the Department of Education, and Office of Early Learning will read to more than 7,000 young children at 125 center-based and family child care programs.
We are always looking for ways to support literacy in our state,” said Dr. Kristy Sheffler, Delaware Stars director. “This week provides the perfect opportunity to help raise awareness about the importance of reading and interacting with books at every age. Plus, there’s nothing better than engaging in a story with a young child.”
“Research continually indicates there is a tremendous word gap in children from lower-income households. In a 2009 study, children in middle-income families engaged in 1,000 to 1,700 hours of picture book reading with an adult; for children in low-income families, that number was just 25 hours,” said Dr. Martha Buell, DIEEC director. “Books are at the heart of language acquisition for children, and language acquisition is a major factor in determining kindergarten readiness.”
Age-appropriate books such “How Kind!” and “Peek-a-Who” will be provided by DIEEC. After the volunteers read the books in the classrooms, the books are donated to the program’s library. Additionally, DIEEC will also supply activity cards, introducing new and fun ways to engage young children with each book.
This outreach is spearheaded by Delaware Stars, a program within DIEEC whose mission it is to increase access to high quality care for all of Delaware’s children.
“Our students get so excited when a visitor comes to read,” said Patti Lynch, coordinator of curriculum at Ministry of Caring Child Care in Wilmington. “A new face and a new story is a formula for a high level of engagement from our little ones.”
Demonstrating Delaware’s commitment to literacy in young children, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting and Office of Early Learning Executive Director Kimberly Krzanowski are scheduled to read.
“Sharing a book with Delaware’s youngest learners is an ideal way to support literacy while connecting with the dedicated early child care staff that serve these children every day,” said Dr. Krzanowski.
“Early learning is vital to a student’s future. Here are some tips for parents.” Op-ed Delaware Online by Dr. Martha Buell, Director of Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood