by Danny Wade
Humboldt City Schools is participating in a program designed to help the youngest readers get off to a good start. The Early Literacy Book Delivery program is set to begin by the end of the year.
Humboldt City Schools’ Federal Programs Director Jennifer Roten, under the guidance of interim Superintendent Lillian Shelton, applied for the grant from the Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education.
“Students receive books delivered to their homes to build their at-home libraries,” Roten explained of the program. “This program almost mirrors Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.”
Humboldt students from kindergarten through third grade will receive one book per month for a total of 10 books. The books are age-appropriate. Student in each grade will receive the exact same books for their grade.
“Teachers will also receive the books,” Shelton added. “They can incorporate the books into their instruction. This also helps with our virtual students.”
Shelton said the program is offered to all 146 school districts in Tennessee. Of those, Humboldt is one of 50 who were selected.
Roten said the state uses criteria as to which schools are selected to participate. She said the state selects schools with a high population of low economic students that are in the most need for assistance.
Book Packs will be directly delivered to students’ and teachers’ homes. These Book Packs include “think sheets” for students to complete on their own. Humboldt’s K-3 families will gain access to Ready4K, an evidenced-based family engagement curriculum delivered via text messages, also at no cost. Each week caregivers will receive text messages with fun facts and easy tips on how to promote their child’s development by building on existing daily routines. Content has already been approved by TDOE and is aligned with educational standards.
Shelton and Roten believe having books delivered to students’ home will encourage parents, grandparents, siblings or other family member to read together. If a student has a younger sibling, the books can be handed down year after year to help give them a head start as well.
Schools participating in the program are required to follow steps and guidelines, mainly gathering data to assure the program is accomplishing what it is designed to do.
Statistics show that students not reading at grade level by the third grade find it difficult to catch up, often times giving up. This is why kindergarten through third graders are the target group to assure they are reading at the proper level.
Humboldt City Schools is so excited for this opportunity for their students, teachers and families.