New program in City Heights prepares children to read

Reading to your child at least 15 minutes daily is perhaps the best way to prepare them for kindergarten.

Reading to your child at least 15 minutes daily is perhaps the best way to prepare them for kindergarten.

There are a few things that every child should know before entering kindergarten. The alphabet, the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters, their numbers up to 10 and to be able to sit still and listen for at least 15 minutes are among them. Perhaps the most important thing a parent or guardian can do to help prepare their child for school is to read to them at least 15 minutes a day and talk to them a lot.

We know that parents are a child’s first teacher, but in City Heights, parents are not alone in helping prepare their children for success. Teachers, parents, students, principals, nonprofits and others who care about families have formed the City Heights Partnership for Children. The Partnership’s vision is that all children succeed.

To support our children’s success, the Partnership will launch the Ready to Read Summer Initiative at three schools in the Hoover High School cluster. This program will work with parents of incoming kindergartners at Hamilton, Joyner, and Cherokee Point Elementary schools.

Ready to Read will provide parents a free, literacy toolkit that will include activities, ideas, and supplies that they can use to prepare their children for school. These tool kits, along with knowing how to use them and ongoing, support will be available through Parent Promotoras at each of the three schools starting in June. Next year we hope to expand the program to more schools, parents and children.

Because children are more confident when they are familiar with something, the Partnership is also working to create an intensive two-week learning program that will be held from Aug. 12 through Aug. 23. Like the Toolkit, this program will reinforce reading skills and prepare students as they get ready to enter school.

Ready to Read is a collaborative effort by READ San Diego, Words Alive, Everyone a Reader, Community HousingWorks, Project LEAN, Teach for America and First 5 San Diego, as well as the parents, teachers, principals and staff at the three schools. As this initiative progresses, we hope other organizations and community leaders will join The Partnership in supporting City Heights’ students’ success.

Parents whose children will be starting kindergarten at one of the three schools this year should contact your school to be part of this summer initiative. If you know other parents whose children will begin kindergarten this year, encourage them to take advantage of this program. Meanwhile, if you are a parent or belong to a community organization interested in being a partner on this initiative, contact City Heights Partnership for Children at tanzellotti@cox.net or call the Partnership (619) 795-2065.

The City Heights Partnership for Children is families, government, nonprofits, funders and schools working together for the success of young children, every child, every step of the way. The Partnership unites all of these stakeholders around a common set of goals for our children and uses data to strengthen and implement strategies that work. For more information on the Partnership or how you or your organization can be involved, call (619) 795-2065.