April 12, 2017
Southwest Human Development, Arizona’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to early childhood development, is taking some important steps to expand its literacy programs for children as part of its partnership with Read On Phoenix.
The organization will be kicking off the expansion of its early literary programs with a reception on Tuesday, April 18 at the Hub24 courtyard from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and is inviting members of civic groups, the business community and faith leaders to attend the event.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Vice Mayor Laura Pastor, Councilwoman Kate Gallego, Councilwoman Debra Stark and Arizona Literacy Director Terri Clark are expected to attend the event. Attendees will learn about programs being delivered in Phoenix to better prepare children for kindergarten, and how they can support this important work.
“Our goal is to dramatically expand the number of children we reach through two early literacy programs we conduct in partnership with Read On Phoenix,” said Jake Adams, Southwest Human Development’s Chief Development Officer. “Our Raising A Reader program teaches parents how to build literacy skills in their children, and our Reach Out And Read program supplies families in need with books for their children through their pediatrician’s offices.”
Read On Phoenix is a public/private partnership of community stakeholders dedicated to ensuring that every child will have the skills necessary to read at or above grade level by the end of third grade by collectively targeting resources and effective practices to the highest-need communities.
This benchmark in reading proficiency has been identified as especially important because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” which sets students up for academic success in years to come. Studies have shown that students who have not mastered reading by the fourth grade are less likely to do well in school, and are more likely to not graduate high school at all.
Southwest Human Development’s literacy programs reach thousands of children and families each year, but Adams said there’s room for growth.
“We have an opportunity to greatly expand the impact of our early childhood literacy efforts, but we need the support of the community in order to do so,” he said. “When people support these programs either through volunteering or through contributions, they really get to see a direct impact on the lives of young children.”