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The purpose of the Raising A Reader (RAR) program is to encourage parents to read to their young children so that children develop pre-literacy skills and a love of reading.
The School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences conduct these Workshops. Through partnerships with the teachers at the Fayetteville Technical Community College, we will follow the Train the Trainer model and support select teachers at FTCC to assist their teachers at underserved early childhood centers.
The Raising A Reader Program at FSU is a collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. The program began as a pilot program in Fayetteville, NC in 2008 through an initial grant from the United Way of Cumberland County. The purpose of the Raising A Reader (RAR) program is to encourage parents to read to their young children so that children develop pre-literacy skills and a love of reading. Raising A Reader is provided to children from birth to five years old at home child care and early education centers.
FSU obtained the site license for the program. Dr. Shirley Chao from the College of Arts and Sciences and Dr. Priscilla Manarino-Leggett from the School of Education oversee the project. The pilot project was initiated in two early childhood education centers- Fayetteville Community College Early Childhood Center and Even Start Early Childhood Center of Cumberland County Schools. Each center received special bright red book bags and a set of high quality, interesting, multi-cultural books to rotate among the families on a weekly basis. Typically a child gets four new books to take home each week. Classrooms also receive bright red wall charts to track the circulation of the book bags. At the end of the program, every child in the program receives a special blue library bag and the local public libraries are encouraged to provide incentives such as bookmarks or stickers to children who come with their blue book bags to check out books. An award winning video entitled, Read Aloud, is available in eight languages and with closed captions for parents to view describing ways parents can read to their young children. The video also has a section describing how parents with limited literacy can still share books with their children.
Participants in the pilot study included 114 children ages 2-5, 13 classrooms, and 28 teachers. Of the 114 children participating in the program, 42% were boys and 58% girls. Most of the children spoke English as their first language, 6% spoke Spanish, and 2% spoke another language. The primary ethnicity of the children in the study was the following: 48% Caucasian/White, 25% African-American, 11% Hispanic, 8% Multi-ethnic, 6% Asian, and 2% Native American. Preliminary research results indicate significant changes in the family reading behaviors and a significant increase in children’s enjoyment of the sharing of books in the household.
We are excited to announce that with additional funding recently received from the Fayetteville Junior League of Fayetteville, the Raising A Reader program will be expanded into other home day care facilities in the Cumberland County area and will serve another 50 children and families.