The Focus of the Stamford Summer Literacy Initiative Is on Literacy Coaches and Boosting Enrollment in Ferguson Library’s Summer Reading Program
STAMFORD, Conn. (July 2, 2020) — The pandemic shutdown might have kept some young children from accessing books at schools and libraries this past spring, but Stamford Cradle to Career is working hard to make sure the city’s children will be actively reading this summer to maintain their literacy levels and be ready to return to school in the fall. The community-wide Stamford Summer Literacy Initiative is promoting literacy in young children this summer throughout the city, with a focus on neighborhoods most affected by the shift to distance learning as a result of COVID-19. With support from the Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation, they are making a push to improve literacy skills in children preschool to grade three.
“We had been planning to launch the Stamford Summer Literacy Initiative this summer before the crisis hit,” said Bridget Fox, President of Stamford Cradle to Career. “The specifics of the program have been adjusted as a result of social distancing, but we’re moving ahead full steam. It’s more critical than ever, since many children may have lost ground in reading skills over the past several months as a result of distance learning.”
Four literacy coaches have been hired to support staff, students, and families in three summer camp programs: Boys & Girls Club, INTEMPO, and Family Centers. These camps are providing a mix of in-person and virtual programming, with the literacy coaches offering virtual support directly to students, with complementary support offered to teachers and staff.
In addition, Stamford Cradle to Career is making a strong push to broaden public awareness of Ferguson Library’s summer reading program, called “Imagine Your Story.” The public awareness campaign will have a “grassroots” feel, with printed signage around the city and messages targeting neighborhoods, bus stops, parks, and outdoor gathering spaces. Messages will direct users to log on to Stamfordreads.com, which will take them straight to the library’s registration page. The ultimate goal is to encourage families to read more with their children over the summer, as reading is critical to closing the achievement gap. Engagement with the summer reading program and literacy support at summer camp programs will contribute to this goal. Now more than ever, reading is a key part of the solution as we look ahead.
Social media will also be a key component of the campaign. Stamford Cradle to Career’s social media channels, as well as those of its many community partner organizations, will be sharing video content, literacy tips, book recommendations, read-alouds, and information about literacy-related events. Follow @StamfordC2C on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for literacy content.
NBCUniversal is producing a promotional video for the public awareness programs, and some of their employees will be filming themselves reading a favorite book to students.
“We are so thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with the United Way of Western Connecticut,” said Vinnie Fusco, Vice President and General Manager, NBCUniversal's Stamford Media Center. “Although the process will be done differently this year, knowing the joy that reading to these children brings to our community, we are grateful to take part in any way,“
United Way of Western Connecticut serves as the anchor and backbone support for Stamford Cradle to Career, which has more than 60 community partners.
For more information about Stamford Cradle to Career’s Stamford Summer Literacy Initiative, contact Bridget Fox, President of Stamford Cradle to Career at firstname.lastname@example.org.