Child Advocacy

Oregon Partnership uses Every Child Ready to Read @ your library®

A colleague of mine suggested that ALSC members may be interested in
Reading for Healthy Families Oregon a statewide early literacy training program utilizing the Every Child Ready to Read @ your library curriculum. For more information please visit the RFHF website: http://www.oregon.gov/OSL/LD/youthsvcs/rfhf.home.page.shtml.

The Oregon State Library and Oregon Commission on Children and Families have partnered together to provide training for 300 children’s library staff and Healthy Start family support workers in an adapted Every Child Ready to Read, bilingual language development, media literacy, working with children with special needs, and working with low-literate/illiterate parents. Each participant commits to providing early literacy education to 15 families, and is provided with a resource kit containing the Every Child Ready to Read materials and a variety of additional resources to help them develop appropriate early literacy workshops for diverse parents and children.

Renea Arnold, a national Every Child Ready to Read trainer, and Joann Contini, a local early childhood and brain development specialist, adapted Every Child Ready to Read so that it is appropriate for family support workers to implement with one family at a time in a home setting, and be more flexible for library staff conducting outreach to high-risk populations in a variety of settings. Essentially, Renea and Joann reorganized the curriculum from 3 two-hour workshops for early talkers, talkers, and pre-readers into 6 one-hour workshops, one for each early literacy skill. And, they added workshops on book sharing, dialogic reading, phonological games, and early brain development.

Family support workers and library staff are trained together to foster local partnerships. Healthy Start family support workers help connect library staff with high-risk families who typically do not come to the library to access services. Libraries connect family support workers with resources they can use with their families. Together Healthy Start programs and libraries are beginning to develop local early literacy networks around a common framework–the Every Child Ready to Read @ your library curriculum.

The Reading for Healthy Families Year 1: Summary of Findings is now available online. This evaluation primarily reports statistics on RFHF participants, and the number of early literacy education sessions they have provided to families. Due to the fact that Year 1 participants have until January 2010 to fulfill their commitment of providing early literacy education to 15 families, this evaluation is inconclusive about the impact of RFHF on children and families. However, NPC Research found that families receiving RFHF early literacy education from Healthy Start family support workers reported a significant increase in telling stories or talking with their children about daily activities compared to families who did not receive RFHF early literacy education.

Hopefully this information will support your current early literacy efforts or provide you with some good ideas. If you want more information or have any questions please email me at katie.anderson@state.or.us.

Thank you,
Katie Anderson
Youth Services Consultant
Oregon State Library

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