Hillary Clinton announces early literacy toolkit for pediatricians and parents

by Administrator 14. October 2014 10:20

This past weekend, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the launch of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) new early literacy toolkit for pediatricians and parents. The toolkit – Books Build Connections – provides updated, practical resources for pediatric professionals, as well as guidance for families on the importance of talking, reading, and singing with their children to promote early learning. The toolkit will be shared with the AAP’s 62,000 pediatrician members at their annual convention this week.

In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced a partnership with Too Small to Fail (a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation), Scholastic Inc., and Reach Out and Read to raise awareness among parents about early language development. The organizations have committed to supporting early literacy and ensuring that doctors, parents and caregivers have the information, tools and books they need to promote talking, reading out loud and singing to children every day starting in infancy.

Early literacy is a crucial part of a child’s development, as reading to children enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life.  But many low-income children are exposed to very little reading before entering school, and in fact, studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper class families hear 30 million more words than their lower income peers.

“Coming to school without words is like coming to school without breakfast or books,” said Clinton.

This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words, which puts children born with the fewest advantages even further behind. Unfortunately, it’s easy to understand how the achievement gap is evident long before children start school. 

"Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country... now, more pediatricians are taking a stand to spread the news more widely through our recent policy, toolkit and partnership with Too Small to Fail. Talking, reading and singing with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships, foster early language skills and promote children's development,” said James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP.

Pediatricians offer a nearly universal way to reach children before they begin school, and it is exciting to have the AAP’s 62,000 members as powerful advocates for reading and talking to children early and often! 

Click here to watch Clinton's full remarks at the AAP conference, and to read more about the early literacy toolkit, please click here. If you are interested in helping to inspire a love of reading through our Readers as Leaders volunteer program, please click here or contact Krissy Dunn.

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud to children from birth

by Administrator 25. June 2014 13:53

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced yesterday that it will begin issuing the recommendation that parents should read aloud to their children from birth. This is the first time the Academy has officially weighed in on early literacy education. This new policy is part of a collaborative effort of the AAP, Too Small to Fail, Scholastic Inc., and Reach Out and Read to raise awareness among parents about early language development.

There are only 2,000 days between a child’s birth and the time that child enters kindergarten, and 90% of brain development happens in those first five years. Early literacy is a crucial part of a child’s development, and reading to children enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life.  

But many low-income children are exposed to very little reading before entering school, and in fact, studies show that by age 3, children from more affluent families are exposed to 30 million more words than children from families receiving public assistance. Unfortunately, it’s easy to understand how the achievement gap is evident long before children start school. 

The AAP hopes to close this gap by asking its 62,000 members to become powerful advocates for reading aloud by encouraging parents each time they visit their child's doctor to read early and often.

According to the AAP, the effort takes a multi-pronged approach toward equipping parents with the best tools to ensure that their children are prepared to learn and ready to enter school:

  • Too Small to Fail and the AAP will share messages across their networks and media platforms about the importance of talking, reading out loud and singing to children from birth in order to build vocabulary and promote healthy brain development.
  • To jump start the partnership, Scholastic has donated 500,000 new, age-appropriate children's books for distribution through Reach Out and Read, the non-profit organization that works with 20,000 medical providers nationwide to promote early reading and give books to families at pediatric visits.
  • Reach Out and Read will also distribute a toolkit to be developed by the AAP, with support from Too Small to Fail, which will equip pediatricians with resources to educate parents on how to use everyday activities to improve communication with their infants and toddlers.

To read more about the AAP’s recommendations, please click here. If you are interested in helping to inspire a love of reading through our Readers as Leaders volunteer program, please click here or contact Krissy Dunn.

Oxford Manor celebrates end of year tutoring program with CONDUIT and Faith Initiative volunteers

by Administrator 23. May 2014 13:17

By: Winnie Morgan, Faith Initiative Coordinator at Durham's Partnership for Children

Oxford Manor students and their families recently celebrated the end of the year tutoring program with CONDUIT (Churches of Northern Durham United In Intention) volunteers. At the event, families had an opportunity to register for YMCA Camp and learn about kindergarten readiness programs and resources. It was a fun time of celebration, recognition, and learning.  

Students were given certificates that recognized their assets as well as gift bags, and a short entertainment program was presented by CONDUIT member Dorothy Clark. This was followed by bountiful delicious food for students and families including homemade yummy cookies. As families registered with Lakewood YMCA Summer Camp, I visited with families to see if they have preschoolers, particulary 4 and 5-year-olds who will attend kindergarten this fall or in 2015.

I shared Blast Off to Kindergarten Kits and talked with families about how to help their children get ready for school. At the end of the event, each child got to select several books furnished by CONDUIT and the Faith Initiative for summer reading, including board books for the youngest children. It was a wonderful celebration and recognition as well as a time to discover new resources.

CONDUIT is a collaboration of seven congregations in Northern Durham that started in 1988. Their outreach ministry and efforts in working with Oxford Manor families have been exemplary and a great example of our faith community's work in Durham County.

Pictured left to right: Beverly Fann (Greater Orange Grove Baptist Church), Diane Weller (Aldersgate UMC), Colleen Anna (Aldersgate UMC), Kathy Pittman (Grace Lutheran Church), Theresia McGee (Greater Orange Grove Baptist Church), Pat Jones (Mt. Sylvan UMC), Bobbie Reeves (Mt. Sylvan UMC), Lolly Holmes (Duke's Chapel UMC), and Dorothy Clark (Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church). Not pictured: Barbara Cameron (Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church).

Reading ROCks in Durham on May 14th

by Administrator 7. May 2014 14:50

Reading ROCks, a fun and free family event promoting literacy, will take place next Wednesday, May 14th, at 6:00 pm at the Holton Career and Resource Center (401 N. Driver Street). The event will feature a book reading with author Floyd Stokes, a parent workshop, and crafts for children. All children will receive a free book, and snacks and drinks will be provided. Register by emailing ncsroceast@norc.org or calling 866-696-4580. Don’t miss this great event in Durham, and please help spread the word!

Durham Public Schools hosts Literacy Summit this Saturday, May 3rd

by Administrator 30. April 2014 12:00

Join Durham Public Schools and community members in addressing Durham’s literacy crisis at the 2014 DPS Literacy Summit, this Saturday, May 3 from 8:30 am - 1:00 pm at Brogden Middle School (1001 Leon St.Durham, NC 27704). Across the state, schools are addressing the impact of the new Read to Achieve Law, which requires 3rd graders who are not reading on grade level to attend summer reading camps and face being retained. This will impact as many as 900 3rd grade students in Durham. 

The purpose of the summit is to engage the community to support schools in improving reading skills. Volunteers from church and community tutoring, after school, summer, mentoring, preschool, and other programs are particularly encouraged to attend to receive training that can be put to use with children already being served.

Every attendee will receive training in the Big 6 skills that can be used to help Durham’s Pre-K-3rd grade readers. These strategies and tools can be put to use through existing community work and by volunteering to be a summer reader for the DPS reading camps. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to make a difference for Durham’s children!

Registration is requested, but not required. Breakfast, lunch, and childcare are offered, and Spanish translation is available. More information and online registration is available at http://www.dpsnc.net/programs-services/academics/literacy-summit.  

WOYC: volunteers making a difference for young children

by Administrator 9. April 2014 15:06

In addition to being Week of the Young Child, this week is also National Volunteer Appreciation Week! Our volunteers are making a difference that lasts a lifetime, and it is with their help that we’re able to reach so many young children and families in Durham. We could not do what we do without our volunteers, so it makes perfect sense for these celebrations to go hand in hand!

Here’s a peek at just some of the ways that volunteers are helping during Week of the Young Child:

  • Volunteers engaged the community at events like the Children’s Festival at Northgate Mall and the Pinwheels for Prevention Family Fun Day at Wheels Fun Park.
  • Volunteers are providing the essential building blocks for early literacy and language development through our Readers as Leaders program. Our readers visit classrooms in child care centers in Durham each week, using the power of their friendship to build a love of reading and enhancing the necessary language, cognitive, and early reading development required for continued school success.

  • Volunteers helped at the NC Pre-K “Blitz” Open Application Day. Along with Partnership staff and other collaborative partners, they processed walk-in applications for the NC Pre-K 2014-15 school year.

  • Volunteers are building Blast Off to Kindergarten Kits, a key component of our Transition to Kindergarten Initiative. The Kits provide school readiness materials designed to prepare children and families for the transition from home to kindergarten, and each one contains items that promote early literacy, enhance emotional and fine motor development, and prompt creativity. We will distribute 1,600 Kits to at-risk children this year, all of which will be assembled by volunteers.

  • Volunteers are maintaining the safety and beauty of the outdoor learning environment at Bryson’s Christian Montessori School, a Durham Early Head Start and NC Pre-K site. Engaging in meaningful outdoor activities has a deep impact on the healthy development of young children. Volunteers will also help to plant vegetables and herbs in the garden, which develops children’s understanding of food systems and improves environmental attitudes and food choices. 
  • Volunteers are helping to guide the work of the Partnership by lending their time, expertise, and passion for early childhood by serving on our Board of Directors and Committees.

We would like to thank all of our volunteers for the valuable work they do, as they make a world of difference in the lives of young children across Durham County. If you are interested in volunteering with the Partnership, please click here or contact Krissy Dunn at krissy@dpfc.net or (919) 403-6960 ext. 230.

Thank you for making a difference for young children!

WOYC: The importance of reading aloud

by Administrator 8. April 2014 15:36

The theme of the Week of the Young Child is “early years are learning years,” and we are celebrating that this week by reading aloud to children throughout Durham.

This morning, Mayor Bill Bell made a guest visit to Another Beautiful Beginnings, a 5-star child care center owned by Dinah Parker, who is on the Partnership’s Board of Directors. The children excitedly gathered around Mayor Bell, who encouraged them to participate by asking questions and making the books come alive.

The enthusiasm from both the children and the Mayor was unmistakable! Mayor Bell said that the children made his day, and it was a wonderful and enriching experience for all involved.


Our own Executive Director Laura Benson also read to young children this morning at Little People Day Care Center in an Early Head Start classroom. “Miss Laura” was a huge hit with the children! Other local leaders are reading in Durham Early Head Start classrooms throughout the week as well. 


Durham County Library is also building a love for books amongst our youngest readers by hosting story times at Durham child care centers and encouraging library card registration. So far this week, they’ve visited Little People and Teddy Bear Lane, and they will visit Legacy (Grace Baptist) and Childcare Network #57 later this week.

Karlene Fyffe Phillips, Youth Services Administrator at the Library, knows that sharing the joy of reading is beneficial for adults too! As she said: “It was a blast! I found a ‘helper’ who was, without a doubt, ready for success in school and life. He helped me with letters, words, colors, sequence and singing in my Pete the Cat story. I can still hear him asking excitedly, ‘What comes next? What comes next?’” 

At the Partnership, we support literacy and encourage early learning through all of our programs, and particularly through the Holiday Book Drive with Barnes & Noble and our Readers as Leaders volunteer initiative. Reading aloud helps children acquire early language skills and is widely recognized as the single most important activity to increase early literacy. Reading aloud also helps children develop positive associations with books and learning, which helps build a stronger foundation for success in school and life.

Week of the Young Child (April 6-12, 2014) is an annual celebration sponsored by the  National Association for the Education of Young Children to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. A full listing of events is available here.

Holiday book drive a huge success

by Administrator 21. January 2014 13:17

The beginning of the new year marked the close of our Annual Holiday Book Drive, which was a huge success again this year! For the eighth year in a row the Partnership teamed up with Barnes & Noble at the Streets at Southpoint to provide books to children in need across Durham County. From November 1st through December 31st, customers were able to purchase a book to be given to young children who might not otherwise have access to reading materials. This year, nearly 3,400 books were collected!

Partnership staff and volunteers have been hard at work organizing the books and distributing them to community agencies serving children in home visiting programs, social services, medical facilities, and a variety of family support and family literacy programs. The book drive is an excellent way to get books to the children and families that need them most, and we hope these books will help support literacy and foster a love of reading for Durham's youngest learners.

We are so grateful to Barnes & Noble at Southpoint for designating the Partnership as the beneficiary of their Annual Holiday Book Drive, and we extend a big thank-you to all of the community members who donated books for their generosity and continued support!

Partnership Holiday Book Drive kicks off today

by Administrator 1. November 2013 09:04

Today is the official kick-off of the Partnership’s Annual Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive.  This is our eighth year partnering with Barnes & Noble – Streets at Southpoint to collect books for young Durham County children in need. During last year's book drive we collected nearly 3,200 books that we distributed to 17 organizations helping young children, including Book Harvest, Durham Early Head Start, the Durham Rescue Mission, and the East Durham Children’s Initiative, among others.

The Book Drive lasts until December 31st, and here's how you can help:

  • Visit Barnes & Noble at the Streets of Southpoint any time during the next 8 weeks to buy a book for a young child.  Books are left behind the register for Partnership staff to collect and distribute throughout the community.
  • Spread the word to friends and family and urge others to support this cause!
  • Visit Partnership staff and volunteers at the store on Friday, December 13th where we will be gift wrapping for Barnes & Noble customers.
  • Let us know of community agencies that could benefit from donated books.

If you're interested in getting more involved with this year's Book Drive, please contact Krissy Dunn at krissy@dpfc.net to learn about other volunteer opportunities.

Children Embrace Madeline and Early Literacy

by Administrator 30. September 2013 14:45

Last Friday, the Partnership collaborated with the Barnes & Noble at Southpoint to organize a Mad about Madeline Day.  The day kicked off with a story time as children eagerly gathered around to hear a reading of the classic Madeline story by Ludwig Bemelmans.  Children then put their creativity and dexterity to work by decorating French flags and coloring pictures of Madeline.  They also enjoyed the Madeline's House Bean Bag Toss and getting their pictures taken with the beloved Madeline character, who appeared in full costume.


We were delighted at this fantastic opportunity to participate in the community's early literacy efforts.  It was a joy to witness the children so engrossed in the story time and to see parents so engaged in developing their children's love of reading.  To help parents develop a print-rich environment at their homes, we held two drawings to give away a collection of Madeline books.  The winners have been notified and are looking forward to receiving their new books later this week. 

The good news for those who could not make it on Friday is that there is still time to participate in our book fair.  Barnes & Noble has generously agreed to donate a portion of their sales from September 27th - October 2nd. Simply take this voucher to any Barnes & Noble location or enter our Book Fair ID Number 11153129 when you checkout on the Barnes & Noble website

We would like to thank all who attended for helping us make this event a success.  We also offer a special thanks to Barnes & Noble for making our book fair possible and for their unmistakeable generosity!


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