Literacy Starts At Home

From the moment babies are born (and even before), their brains are developing at lightning speed. In the first three years of life, children’s brains form more than one million new connections per second—connections that will support their language and literacy development.

Literacy Starts At Home

From the moment babies are born (and even before), their brains are developing at lightning speed. In the first three years of life, children’s brains form more than one million new connections per second—connections that will support their language and literacy development.

Families play crucial roles during these early years and beyond. Indeed, parents and caregivers are their children’s first and best teachers, especially if we provide them with the literacy resources and support they need at home.

Here's what Chattanooga 2.0 and community organizations are doing to support literacy at home.

Strategy

Chattanooga Basics

Lead Organization: City of Chattanooga

The Chattanooga Basics are five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every family can use to help every child have a great start in life and build a foundation for literacy in years to come. 80% of a child’s brain grows in the first few years of life. Parents and caregivers can capitalize on that opportunity with these five practices: 1) Maximize Love and Manage Stress; 2) Talk, Sing, and Point; 3) County, Group, and Compare; 4) Explore through Movement and Play; and 5) Read Discuss Stories. Learn more about the Basics and activities that families can do at home by visiting the Chattanooga Basics website.

Imagination Library
Strategy

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Lead Organization: Signal Centers

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a monthly book-gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income. The number of books in a home is highly correlated with future literacy proficiency. A multi-sector committee meets quarterly to pursue strategies in service of increasing the percentage of eligible children enrolled in the program from 58% to 75%. Visit Signal Centers’ website to sign up an eligible child today!

Strategy

Nurse-Family Partnership Home Visitation Program

Lead Organization: Erlanger

Nurse-Family Partnership is a free program for WIC-eligible women who are pregnant with their first baby and enroll before 28 weeks. Mothers are connected to a registered nurse who will provide the support, advice, and information needed to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby and become the best mom they can be. Mother-baby attachment is the first topic mothers learn about in the program and is a vital contributor to emergent literacy skills. To sign up or refer a new mother-to-be, visit Erlanger’s website.

Hamilton County Schools
Strategy

Hamilton County Schools Parent Notification Plan and Literacy Resources for Parents

Lead Organization: Hamilton County Schools

Hamilton County Schools has developed a Foundational Literacy Skills Plan that has been approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and meets the requirements of the Tennessee Literacy Success Act. The school district has compiled a Parent Notification Plan that includes Home Literacy Reports for families whose K-5 students score below the 25th percentile in reading as well literacy resources for parents to use at home.

Strategy

Parent Resource Hub

Lead Organization: TBD
This new resource is currently in development for families in Hamilton County. The Parent Resource Hub will be an online app that links to a myriad of helpful organizations, events, programs, and resources, many of which will equip families to support literacy. To join the email list to find out when this app will become available for families.
Strategy

Ready4K Text Messaging

Lead Organization: Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation

Hamilton County Schools’ families with pre-K through 3rd grade students receive three weekly text messages with facts, easy tips and activities on how to help each child learn and grow by building on existing family routines. Text messages are matched with each child’s age and offer developmentally appropriate facts and suggestions

Strategy

K-3 Home Library and K-2 At-Home Decodable Book Distribution Programs

Lead Organizations: Tennessee Department of Education and Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation

These free book distribution programs support student learning in the home by increasing access to books and other literacy resources that enable students to practice decoding texts and grow their worldly knowledge. Learn more about these programs at the K-3 Home Library and K-2 At-Home Decodable Books webpages, including when books will be available for families.

Strategy

Reach Out and Read

Lead Organization: Coming Soon
Partner Organization: Chattanooga 2.0

Pediatricians at the participating clinic provide the children they see from birth to age 5 with a new, developmentally-appropriate book to take home after using the book to conduct their developmental assessment and model for parents and caregivers how to read aloud. This national model supports emergent literacy skills by increasing book access and equipping families to be their children’s first and best teachers. Learn more about the Reach Out and Read model on its website.

Strategy

Roads to Reading for Guatemalan-American Families

Lead Organization: La Paz Chattanooga
Partner Organizations: Chattanooga 2.0, Chattanooga Public Library, Hamilton County Schools, The Enterprise Center, WTCI-PBS

Not everyone from Latin America speaks Spanish as their first language. In fact, many speak one of the many languages—like Mam, K’iche’, or Q’anjob’al—that indigenous people have been speaking for centuries. That’s why La Paz Chattanooga and others are providing families with Guatemalan heritage with books and audio-visual resources to ensure every family has what they need to support their children’s early literacy! To view some of the videos and learn more, visit the Roads to Reading website or read our blog.

Strategy

Family Reads

Lead Organization: Chattanooga 2.0

To thrive as readers, kids need lots of books at their fingertips and the support of their parents and caregivers at home, who can teach them about the world around them. This strategy provides K-5 students with a new book every quarter during the year and an activity sheet that families can complete with them. Each book and activity sheet is aligned with the knowledge and skills students are learning in school. Learn more about pilot of this strategy on the Family Reads webpage.

Strategy

Summer Reads

Lead Organization: Chattanooga 2.0
To thrive as readers, kids need lots of books at their fingertips and the support of their parents and caregivers at home, who can teach them about the world around them. Unfortunately, many students do not have regular access to books during the summer. This strategy will provide students with nine books and activities to complete over the summer that will enable them to build background knowledge aligned to topics in the upcoming school year while also building their home libraries and love of reading.

Chattanooga 2.0 has an Early Childhood Action Plan that outlines strategies from birth to age 8 that will impact literacy and child brain development. Some of those strategies are listed above because of their explicit tie to early literacy skills. To learn more about the plan, visit www.chatt2.org/brightstart.

Everyone has a role to play in championing literacy and improving the future of Hamilton County. Want to support one of these strategies or learn more?

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