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The Why

In West Virginia, school readiness refers to the process of assuring children have access to the best available resources prior to entering first grade. Available resources support children and their families, and focus on maximizing children’s holistic development from birth.Research shows that learning begins long before a child enters kindergarten. Children, even infants, soak up words, rhymes, songs, and images. Most language acquisition occurs prior to children entering school, so it is important to provide a language-rich environment to ensure robust vocabulary development.

A child’s health is another critical aspect of school readiness.  Parents, daycare providers, pediatricians, and preschool programs all play an enormous role in the timely recognition of developmental delays. A collaboration of all these efforts will help to prepare our youngest learners for school.

The Research

The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age  

Too many children from low-income families begin school already far behind.  The research shows that these children are less likely to be read or spoken to regularly or to have access to books, literacy-rich environments, high-quality care, and pre-k programs.  As a consequence, these children may hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their middle-income peers before reaching kindergarten.  Research also shows that such interactions are critical for language development, an important precursor to literacy.

  • 61% of low-income children have no children’s books at home.
  • By age two, poor children are already behind their peers in listening, counting and other skills essential to literacy.
  • A child’s vocabulary as early as age three can predict third grade reading proficiency.
  • By age five, a typical middle-class child recognizes 22 letters of the alphabet, compared to 9 for a child from a low-income family.

The Goal

  • To have a higher percentage of PreK and Kchildren entering school prepared as evidenced by the ELRS. 

The How

The campaign helps by:

  • Raising awareness, with an emphasis on outreach to families
  • Mobilizing community engagement
  • Finding, developing and incubating efforts to enhance parents’ knowledge, skills and access to supports for nurturing early literacy and language development

I want to make a difference in my child

I want to make a difference in our school

  • Connect with your local Family Resource Network to learn what resources your county provide for prenatal care, birth to three resources, etc..
  • Engage with your Read Aloud WV
  • Develop a school-community-parent partnership to help increase preschool and kindergarten enrollment and provide opportunities for smooth transitions. Some examples include hosting an enrollment festival at a local community center or hosting a transition camp for incoming kindergarten students and families to become familiar with the building.
  • Explore the School Readiness Transitions Toolkit for tips on transitioning to school.

I want to make a difference in our community