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Let's Read Together/Leamos Juntos...An Early Literacy Program

The Issue

Statistics show that many children and disproportionately more low-income and English language-learners are entering school less prepared than children did a decade ago. There is overwhelming evidence that a parent’s involvement in reading and language are the building blocks for learning and school success. Children who do not develop adequate speech and language skills in the first few years of life are six times more likely to experience reading problems in school. High parental involvement in activities such as reading, telling stories, singing and playing with infants and young children contributes to children’s language and literacy development.

What Has ANR Done?

A 595-page, 17-lesson curriculum, "Let's Read Together," was developed by UC Cooperative Extension advisors. It uses a train-the-trainer approach to educate parents on the importance of reading with their children and performing other simple strategies to improve their children's early literacy skills. Each lesson models a specific reading technique, provides hands-on activities and includes take-home materials that focus on a featured book. Lessons target three age groups: infants, toddlers and preschoolers. All parent materials have been translated into Spanish to create a 297-page manual called "Leamos Juntos."

The Payoff

Parents are reading more often to their children.

Educators from 28 counties, 14 states and Puerto Rico have been trained on the "Let's Read Together" materials. Evaluation data supports the effectiveness of the curriculum in providing English- and Spanish-speaking audiences strategies and activities to enhance their children’s early literacy development. Nearly 200 Placer and San Diego county parents participated in the evaluation. In all cases, they reported significant knowledge gain from the program. The highest gains were for using different forms of literature with their preschoolers (wordless books, pattern-concept books, picture story books and alphabet books)and in learning how to select age-appropriate books. The parents reported that they are reading more often to their children, promoting reading as a recreational activity, talking and listening more with their children, and providing more writing and drawing materials in their homes. Parents also reported their children show more interest in books, want to be read to more often and know and use more words.


Supporting Unit: Placer-Nevada Counties

Placer County, Sharon K. Junge, County Director & Nutrition Family Consumer Science Advisor, 11477 E Ave., Auburn CA 95603, (530) 889-7385, skjunge@ucdavis.edu

San Diego County, Sue Manglallan, 4-H Youth & Family Development Advisor, 5555 Overland Ave., Suite 4101, San Diego, CA 92124, (858) 694-8836