Early Literacy

Think about it!

“I’ve been reading .. way too many books!”

DID you know that a child (living in poverty) starting kindergarten – has heard thirty-million fewer words than a kid not growing up in poverty?

DID you know that vocabulary is the predictor of literacy and that literacy is the predictor of school success?

DID you know that there are over 35,000 local children living in poverty?

Birth to three years old is the peak age for brain development and learning. In fact, with 700 new neural connections forming every second, the first three years of life are the most crucial time for developing critical brain functions such as hearing, language and cognition. Without the chance to participate in high-quality early childhood development and learning programs, gaps can appear early, sometimes even before a child’s first birthday. That means that by the time some children reach preschool, they are already playing catch-up.

simple research sheets

Educators have told us that third grade is a flashpoint in primary education because it’s the stage when children are no longer learning to read but are reading to learn.

If children haven’t mastered reading by third grade, they find it hard to handle increasingly complex lessons in science, social studies and math. Children with this disadvantage are more than twice as likely to not graduate high school.

This is the right time to take on the challenge of dramatically increasing the number of children – especially those from low-income families – to read proficiently.

Kindergarten book clubs?

Kindergarten book clubs?

We’ve launched a community-based, reading program in New Bedford public school kindergartens, fueled by PTO parents and GiftsToGive volunteers.

Our initial joint-venture focused on 19 classes in 6 schools. We are providing training to PTO parents and GiftsToGive volunteers enabling them to read to children in class, during the school day. During training we provide our volunteer readers with coaching instructions specific to the book they are reading, that include key words, conversational prompts, questions, and extended activities.

If you’d like to talk to us about volunteering – we’ll make it easy and keep it simple. There are a dozen different ways you can help – it all starts with a two-minute conversation.

Take the action – Call Martha Kay at 508-717-8715 x  112 or Email Martha – or zip-off our nifty contact form (below). Ours and a local story about Martha.

To promote family literacy we also provide each student with books to take home to read with their siblings and family.

These are some of the books volunteers are reading to kindergarten students:

  • Thank You Sarah by Laurie Anderson
  • Super Snow Day by Michael Garland
  • Mortimer’s First Garden by Karma Wilson
  • Barack Obama Son of Promise by Nikki Grimes
  • First Day Jitters  by Julie Danneberg
  • Out and About at the Newspaper by Kitty Shea
  • The Ugly Duckling by Bernadette Watts
  • Bigger Better Best by Stuart Murphy
  • Pepper’s Journal by Stuart Murphy
  • Moonbear’s Shadow by Frank Asch
  • El Misterio Del Queso by Depaul Harrison
  • El Pez Arco Iris Al Rescate by Marcus Pfister


1st Grade ELL

1st Grade



Early Literacy Inquiry

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