by Early Learning Manager Liz Cortez
The Mission Promise Neighborhood, a cradle-to-college, collective-impact initiative, is rolling out an Early Literacy Campaign for families with children ages birth to fifth grade. With only 32 percent of third-grade students and 43 percent of fifth-grade students reaching proficiency in English Language Arts at Mission District schools, there is much more that needs to be done in our community to prepare students for the transition to middle school, high school and beyond. We know that reading and writing does not begin in kindergarten or first grade; developing language and literacy skills begins at birth through everyday interactions, such as sharing books, telling stories, singing songs and talking to one another. And that is why we are starting early — at birth.
The Early Literacy Campaign builds on the existing early literacy work at schools (preschools and elementary schools) and community-based organizations, such as Tandem, Partners in Early Learning. We are also reaching families with young children that are not yet part of an early care and education setting or an elementary school.
How Mission Promise Neighborhood is improving early literacy
- Parents building the capacity of parents. Early literacy workshops for parents are led by parents that have received the Literacy Champions Certification through Tandem. A group of parents and promotoras have been certified through this intensive, three-day capacity-building opportunity. In addition to providing a workshop on early literacy, participants of the workshops will receive books and a literacy-rich environments checklist to support the promotion of literacy at home. Over the next year, eight parents and promotoras will become Certified Literacy Champions through Tandem. They will engage 300 parents in early literacy workshops, plus one-to-one conversations where families will receive books and a literacy rich-environment checklist to support the promotion of literacy at home. Parents will sign a pledge, making a commitment to talk, read and sing with their child at least 15 minutes a day, every day. Parents will also pledge to advocate for more and higher-quality early care and education programs.
- Promoting the Talk, Read, Sing campaign. The Mission Promise Neighborhood will be partnering with the San Francisco Public Library to leverage the Talk, Read, Sing Campaign as a means to close the “word gap” for Mission children. Harnessing the power of the campaign, we will promote the use of existing routines to encourage parents to talk, read and sing to their children — the foundation for literacy. At the beginning of the 2017-2018 program year, 400 families at the Mission Promise Neighborhood’s four preschool programs will receive Talk, Read, Sing campaign materials to promote literacy in their home and community.
- Scaling parent-education programs. In April, and in partnership with First 5 San Francisco, Mission Promise Neighborhood early learning partners will participate in the Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors training. The added staff training will double the amount of families accessing the program by 2018. Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors is the only evidence-based parent education program for Latino parents with children birth to age 5. According to the UC Berkeley Institute of Human Development, this program “empowers them to transform cultural strengths into the tangible tools they need to build solid foundations.” Parents showcase significant increases in their knowledge of language and literacy development, social-emotional development, health development and school preparation.
More families of the Mission Promise Neighborhood have increased the amount of time they are reading to their children and/or encouraging reading outside of school, according to the MPN Neighborhood Survey. In 2016, 77 percent of parents reported reading to their children three or more times a week and 91 percent reported encouraging older children to read outside of school.
Mission Promise Neighborhood is building on this positive trend to ensure that children succeed in school, complete college and have many career options.
About Mission Promise Neighborhood
The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.