United Way of Kern County's Early Childhood Education and Literacy Program
We would like to thank everyone that contributed to our 8th Annual A Chocolate Affair. Thank you to our community, staff, volunteers, sponsors, partners and attendees. We raised $65,000 for our early literacy programs. We truly appreciate our community!
With the help of our community we are able to focus on our early childhood education programs and literacy initiatives which support low to moderate-income children and families. We help parents and caregivers take on the role of being their child’s first teacher by giving them the tools and resources to foster a life-long love of reading, which research shows begin in the home. By the age of three, the brain is already 80% developed. So, when a child is given a brand-new book in their hands, it is an investment in their future. We know that if children have a love for books, it will lead to a love for reading, which will lead to greater academic success down the road.
United Way of Kern County understands that the foundation for the ability to read begins at birth or even before. Listening to and interacting with parents/caregivers are the first steps to success. The steps continue through preschool and up to the third grade. This is because it is at this time that children make the important transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Those who are unable to read proficiently by the third or fourth grade are at a much higher risk of failing and ultimately dropping out of school.
In Kern County, just 36 percent third graders score “proficient” or above on state standardized reading tests—about 9 percent less than the state average. Our county’s high school dropout rate is 16 percent. We have learned that to ensure kids are reading proficiently at third grade, they must be on track when they enter kindergarten.
Your contributions will go towards United Way of Kern County’s initiatives that focus to improve early childhood literacy as a key component in its efforts to improve education through the Born Learning© Initiative, 10 station, bilingual circuit course with learning activities at each station in parks around Kern County, and the Raising a Reader Program, a preschool classroom for five years where children are exposed to 100 different titles, have guest readers, and special events.
For more information on our education programs, contact Andrea Flores, Education Manager at:
Andrea.F@uwkern.org | 661-885-5731.