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First Library Initiative

Building Pathways to Literacy
Recent research shows that there is an undeniable and strong correlation between early childhood reading and long term academic success.  One study by the The Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that students who are reading at or above grade level by the third grade are significantly more likely to graduate high school and find a job than those who are behind. 

Because of this, having the building blocks and access to reading materials at a young age is extremely critical.  CCEF has developed a new literacy initiative focused on the early introduction to books for young children. Early childhood literacy is a key in ensuring the development of a love of reading and literacy skills that will enhance a student’s chances for academic success.  Beginning in October 2013, CCEF worked with each of the 22 Pre-Kindergarten classes in the county to help create each students “first library.”  CCEF has used the Pre-k classrooms at our local public schools due to the fact that these students are prescreened based upon learning disabilities and economic need.  Statistics show that a child from a middle income home typically enters the first grade with over 1,000 hours of one-on-one picture book reading time with parents or guadians, while a child from a low income family typically averages below 100 hours.  By providing these at risk students with a library of books to take home and call their own at a young age, CCEF and it’s partners hope to increase those students chances of success in reading by the time they reach third grade, leading to greater success throughout their academic lives.

The program encourages reading by coordinating “read-ins” with the classrooms on six designated dates throughout the school year.  Following each “read-in”, each student is given a copy of the book to take home for their own “first library”.  Students are encouraged to share the book with their parents and inspire a passion for reading nightly in the home. 

If you, your organization, or your business would like to get involved in this worthwhile program, please contact Eric C. Head (  CCEF is looking to expand this program in years to come beyond pre-kindergarten and into first through third grade classrooms, and would greatly appreciate your support in expanding this phenominal program.

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