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Connections For Children’s Reading Readiness Program

Where The Story Begins brings concrete resources to vulnerable families, helping to build children’s early literacy skills. Growing evidence shows that what happens in the first five years of a child’s life influences their health, educational success and behaviors well into the future.

We launched our Reading Readiness Program, Where The Story Begins, because early literacy skills are among the greatest predictors for children’s learning success.

  • The learning gap starts in infancy, and over 32% of children lack the language skills they need when they enter kindergarten.
  • The effects are long-term: more than a third of children struggle with language arts by third grade, not reaching proficiency in reading by that time.
  • Poor readers in the early years of school are more likely to drop out of school and are also 70% more likely to get in trouble.
  • Young children, especially infants and toddlers, whose parents read, sing, and talk to them every day end up with larger vocabularies and are more likely to become successful readers.

A New Early Literacy Initiative Based on Research and Experience

Where The Story Begins is based on the scientific evidence demonstrating that children who are read to are more likely to become successful readers. Parents play a crucial role in making sure that their children are read to everyday. Yet, over the years of working with thousands of families and children, our experience shows that in many vulnerable families parents often may not have the confidence to read aloud. The stresses of poverty many parents face may become barriers to reading with their children. Parents whose first language is not English may feel hesitant to read.

Unfortunately, one result is that children of lowincome families hear significantly fewer words as they grow up. This “word gap” leads to persistent learning gaps for vulnerable children who enter school with smaller vocabularies. In fact, 30 – 35% of entering kindergarten students nationwide are not ready to learn to read due to low language skills. 

Where The Story Begins will help:
  • Working in small groups, children, together with their parents and caregivers, begin the exciting adventure of learning about books. 
  • Group story-time, cozy and relaxed, is a great chance for children to participate by selecting books, adding sound effects, and chiming in. 
  • Each session includes story time, songs, and fun activities to extend the story through drama, play, and arts and crafts, modeling for parents and caregivers how to engage children to build vocabulary and early literacy skills. 
  • Each child and their adult receive their own copies of the books used in each session.

Thank you to our 40th Anniversary sponsors!