What is Play & Read?
Play & Read was an AmeriCorps and Serve Wisconsin service project facilitated by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in 2015-2016. The focus of this service project was improving rural communities by building on children’s early literacy skills to position them for academic and social success. Specifically, the project emphasized:
Increasing literacy among 3 and 4 year-olds, as measured by pre- and post-assessments
Growing capacity and comfort of families to engage in literacy activities with their children
Helping libraries better connect with families of young children through outreach efforts, especially to non-library users. View this presentation to see how Play & Read libraries used outreach to partner with community organizations.
Play & Read placed 19 AmeriCorps members in seven public libraries throughout southern Wisconsin. Teams and single members built on children's pre-existing literacies by facilitating play groups for three and four year olds. Play groups included shared reading, writing, and intentional vocabulary development. Children participated in the program weekly, and families also took part in at least two one-on-one literacy check-ins with the AmeriCorps members. As a grant requirement, members also administered early literacy assessments with the participating children to gather data highlighting gains in literacy. In addition to the play groups, members collaborated with library staff to offer support for additional early literacy efforts.
Why Play & Read?
Strong evidence suggests that early experiences mold the brain and set the stage for later learning, thinking, and abilities. Play & Read harnessed this research with the goal of enhancing early literacy skills of three and four year old economically disadvantaged children while engaging their families as catalysts to promote a love reading.
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