This month, the LOU Reads Coalition launches a six-month community awareness campaign designed to encourage parents to read to their children daily from birth. The unprecedented effort will unite the LOU community – especially those who touch the lives of children from birth to age 8– under its single, powerful message: Read Aloud 15 MINUTES. Every child. Every parent. Every day.
The local campaign will include monthly posters at daycares, the health department, WIC, and other locations throughout the community. The posters also will be featured on every OUT Bus and the local blog Oxford Moms & Tots. The LOU Coalition will offer monthly workshops for parents at childcare centers throughout the county. The workshops, led by local early childhood literacy experts, will teach parents simple and effective ways to encourage reading with their young children.
The campaign’s goal is to have every child being read aloud to by a parent or loved one for 15 minutes every day starting at birth. The national, decade-long 15 MINUTES movement will be a massive public awareness effort, spearheaded by partners in cities throughout the nation that will rally grassroots support through local awareness efforts and community outreach.
Dr. Candace Kendle, ReadAloud.org co-founder, says, “We want to change social norms. We want to see reading aloud every day for 15 minutes become one of the essential routines of child care, as normal as daily tooth brushing.”
Bob Robbins, executive director and co-founder of ReadAloud.org, says, “The response we’ve had at the local level has been amazing. Businesses, teachers, librarians, health care workers … they all recognize the importance of what we’re trying to do, and they’re all drawn to our simple, but powerful message. We are excited to have L.O.U. Reads help parents with young children throughout Oxford and Lafayette County join our growing league of academic scholars, business leaders, government officials, day care workers, teachers, community workers, parents, and friends who are working to make reading aloud for 15 minutes every day, starting at birth, a parenting standard. Together, we will help more children begin kindergarten ready to learn, get the most out of their education, and become productive citizens.”
Read Aloud partners are united behind the idea that 15 minutes of daily reading aloud from birth to age 8 can change the face of education, locally and nationally.
According to Read Aloud:
- Reading aloud is the single most important thing a parent or caregiver can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning.
- Nationally, 37% of children arrive in kindergarten without the skills necessary to begin their learning journey.
- Even in our overall high-performing local school districts, 29% of third graders scored below proficient on the 2013 MCT2 exam.
- If a child is not reading at grade level by the end of the first grade, then there is an 88% probability the child will not be reading at grade level by the end of the fourth grade.
- Mississippi’s new Literacy-Based Promotion Act, which goes into effect this school year, requires third grade students to be retained if they do not score proficient on the assessment taken at the end of the school year.
- Early reading and language experiences increase a child’s likelihood of reading at grade-level.
- In the United States, more than four out of every five low-income students are not proficient readers by fourth grade.
- Even in higher-income households, nearly 40% of families do not read aloud every day.
This project of the LOU Reads Coalition, funded by the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County and a corporate foundation, is being spearheaded by the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County, the Lafayette County Literacy Council and LOU Excel By 5 Coalition. Other partners in the LOU Reads Coalition include both public school districts, the Boys & Girls Club of North Mississippi, Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library, LOU-Home, Inc., Leap Frog, and Oxford University School. University of Mississippi members include the College of Liberal Arts, College Corps, North Mississippi VISTA Project, McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, Horizons at the University of Mississippi, Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction and Jumpstart.
About LOU Reads
LOU Reads is a coalition of leaders from local schools, several nonprofit organizations, the University of Mississippi, the LOU Excel by 5 Coalition, and individuals working to help more of the community’s children read at grade-level by the end of third grade by addressing issues related to reading instruction, school readiness, out-of-school programs and attendance. For more information, visit: www.loureads.org.
About Read Aloud
Read Aloud 15 MINUTES is a non-profit organization that is working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes the new standard in child care. When every child is read aloud to for 15 minutes every day from birth, more children will be ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, more children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school, and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school.
For more information, visit their website.