The month of September means that the new school year has begun, and it is also National Literacy Month. According to the organization, ProLiteracy, 30 million people in the U.S. over the age of 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper article written at the eighth grade level or fill out a basic job application. Two-thirds of America’s children living in poverty have no books at home, and 35 percent of American children start Kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn to read, according to Reading is Fundamental. These statistics are shocking and unacceptable, so Alpha Beta Psi strives to help make a difference in level of literacy in our community in the month of September and beyond. Our organization believes ALL children should have access to books, both at school AND at home.
For the past four and a half years, our organization has been giving a Literacy Bag to each child born in Mason County. Each reusable canvas bag has a welcome letter, literacy brochures, a large board book, the “Read to Your Bunny” book, a small infant toy, and a couple of small bonus books. This public outreach is our ongoing community service project. We want to inform and remind the public about this valuable program in celebration of National Literacy Month and to ask for your continued support at our various fundraisers throughout the year. The money we raise goes towards scholarships, different community service projects that arise, donations to various benefactors, and these beneficial Literacy Bags.
Many people believe that children learn to read and write in Kindergarten or first grade; however, the foundation for literacy skills is laid years before children enter school. Early language and literacy development begins in the first three years of life and is developed through experiences with books and stories and interactions with the adults around them. Children gain significant knowledge of language, reading, and writing long before they enter school, and reading with children is one of the best ways to encourage language and literacy development from a very young age. Having access to developmentally appropriate books is crucial in supporting early literacy, and Alpha Beta Psi aspires to provide local children with a small part of what they need to build a strong foundation for learning and preparedness for school. It is never too early to start reading to a child!