Before reading, writing and arithmetic, pre-literacy skills are the essential stepping stones to a child’s success in school. Pre-literacy skills include print awareness, vocabulary, letter knowledge, phonological awareness and comprehension skills, which put children on track to achieve reading milestones in each grade level.
One of the best ways for children to improve their pre-literacy skills is parent/child reading time. However, whether due to lack of resources or time, children in need often do not receive as much of this crucial reading time and thus fall behind in their pre-literacy skills and later education. A study released by the American Educational Research Association found that “a student who can’t read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer.”
Through the Kohl’s Building Blocks program, Penfield Children’s Center strives to close the achievement gap and develop pre-literacy skills among children, ages 0-4, in its classrooms. These crucial skills will help to ensure their success later on in school. The Kohl’s Building Blocks program works to develop pre-literacy skills with three program pillars:
· The Kohl’s Child Development Library: The Kohl’s Child Development Library is located within Penfield Children’s Center. The library provides children and families with age-appropriate books for take-home use as well as specialized equipment and other early childhood development and educational materials.
· Kohl’s Building Blocks Community Outreach and Education: Kohl’s Building Blocks Community Outreach and Education is available to Milwaukee and surrounding communities. Its specialized hands-on workshops provide quality resources and information to children, parents and professionals. The “Importance of Reading” workshop specifically educates parents about the importance of pre-literacy for their children as they grow.
· Kohl’s Early Learning Toolkits:Upon enrollment in the program, children and families are provided with age-appropriate toys and books that stimulate and encourage continuous development at home. Toolkits are also handed out at outreach events and family programs such as the Penfield Family Reading Nights.