The Reading Road Show will take early childhood literacy programs On the Road to children from newborn to age five. Congressman Bob Goodlatte says, "I believe that programs such as this can provide children with the emotional support, academic assistance and exposure to experiences that some individuals might not otherwise experience on their own."
Transportation is considered a big obstacle to early learning in Rockingham County. Many communities are 20 to 35 miles from Harrisonburg and it's services.
Jane Hubbell is the Executive Director for the Office on Children and Youth. She says, "So we have a high percentage of kids coming into school that aren't fully prepared to start to read so this program is an effort to bring those numbers down and have all of our children successful when they enter school."
Hubbell says 39 percent of children in the city of Harrisonburg are not ready to read by the time they hit school. Twenty-two percent in Rockingham County aren't prepared. Hubbel continues, "We are going to help families read to their children, understand the importance of getting ready for school and having literacy skills."
Childcare providers should also get ready for the Road Show according to Childcare Connection spokeswoman Marilyn Turner. She says, "Sixty-four percent of the families in our area have children before school age in childcare during the day so if we wanna do it in the child care setting, not just at home."
Organizers say the program will be a success when parents know more about early literacy and how to prepare their children for school. They're also hoping more people will participate in the program because it comes to them. Emily Hoole of the United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County says, "We'll certainly want to continue the work that we're doing now and reach kids from birth to age six from here on out and really make a difference in school readiness." Grant money will be allocated over the next 17 months.
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