Twenty-two parents at the West County First 5 Center are on their way to becoming certified “ Tandem® Literacy Champions.”
Tandem Partners in Early Learning®, the organization we fund to provide StoryCycles book-sharing programs throughout the County, trains parents so they can, in turn, help other parents in the community learn how to build their children’s early literacy and language skills.
The first step to becoming a Literacy Champion is for parents to attend four training sessions on early literacy and family engagement. Of the parents and caregivers participating at the West County First 5 Center, one was a father, three were grandparents, and most were bilingual in English and Spanish.
We’ve been working to improve early childhood experiences for nearly 20 years – and new research shows it’s paying off.
Last month, researchers from Stanford University released new data comparing 40,000 children who started kindergarten in 1998, 2006, and 2010. They found that children from the poorest and wealthiest families improved in early literacy and math assessments. Despite the Great Recession and growing inequality in the country, children in poverty made the largest gains.
The lead researcher said the achievement gap is closing “not because schools are getting more equal, but because something in early childhood is becoming more equal.” According to researchers, the leveling force may be parents.