So what is literacy anyway?
Literacy refers to a child’s ability to learn language-read, speak, and write. Literacy begins at birth-when an infant and parent make their first eye contact and communication begins.
Children learn to be literate by observing and interacting with others. This is why people say literacy is a social process.
Children learn to be literate best when they are actively engaged in learning experiences. For example:
Head Start & AmeriCorps* Partnership a Success
- Reading and re-reading favorite books
- Telling and re-telling stories
- Writing and drawing stories on paper
- Counting, sorting, and exploring.
In 2006 KOOTASCA Head Start applied for and was chosen to be a sponsor site of the AmeriCorps* Early Literacy Corps (ELC). This program places members in Head Start centers around Minnesota to help children improve their emerging literacy skills and prepare for kindergarten. The goals of the program include:
After our first year with the project the results are in and show clearly that this approach is working. The following graph shows the number of children at or above goal in the areas of Rhyming, Alliteration, Picture Naming, Letter Names and Letter
- Increase the literacy skills of Head Start children;
- Build instructional and assessment skills in the ELC members and;
- Increase volunteer capacity in Head Start, including parent involvement in children’s literacy, Head Start programs and other community volunteer recruitment.
Classroom members serve in the early childhood classroom, working directly with 3 & 4 year old children.
AmeriCorps* Early Literacy Corps members engage in a year-long commitment that involves:
For more information on how to become part of this important project call Jessica Bunker 218-999-0811. Recruitment happens each spring with new members starting in August.
- Completing 1,700 hours of service for full-time members (40 hours a week) or 900 hours for half-time members (20 hours a week) throughout the year; ongoing assessment and monitoring of children’s literacy skills attending training, community service projects, civic engagements as well as attending ELC events.
ELC members receive a semi-monthly stipend payments of approximately $430 for full time member or $215 for half time members. All ELC members qualify for the Education award of $4,725 (FT) or $2,362 (HT) to go towards tuition or re-paying educational loans (upon completion of program requirements). In addition and depending on income, full time community ELC members may qualify for childcare assistance and single medical coverage.