A new literacy campaign, stORytime, which aims at saying more than “Read to your child,” was launched at Bridger Elementary in southeast Portland.
Gov. John Kitzhaber and Umqua Bank Ray Davis launched the campaign on Sept. 19.
Some children come into elementary school equipped with the essentials to progress their reading: knowledge of the alphabet, letter shapes and sounds, and familiarity of books. Other children do not have those pre-literacy skills.
Oregon Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden worked on ways to counteract this problem. “She wants to inform and motivate the people best positioned to help young children ramp up to reading: their parents,” according to The Oregonian.
Golden said that some parents are not strong readers and feel intimidated when given the advice that they must be the ones to equip their children with complex pre-literacy skills, which is why “stORytime” is about promoting the value of telling stories to children.
The message of stORytime is that singing with, telling stories to and talking while playing with young children builds their vocabularies and fosters other important literacy skills.
Although the campaign was launched in Portland, it will focus on five communities that face higher poverty and other challenges.
The communities include:
- The Reynolds school district in east Multnomah County:
- The Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde and Willamin Elementary in Yamhill County
- The Reedsport, North Bend and Coos Bay school districts on the southern Oregon coast
- The Ontario and Vale school districts on the Idaho border
- The Klamath Tribe in Klamath County
According to The Oregonian, Oregon leaders want to avoid last year’s statistics: only 66 percent of Oregon students reached normal reading levels by third grade.
The leaders said it is vital for nearly all Oregon students to reach normal reading levels by third grade.
Golden said for those students who don’t reach their reading level by that time will never reach normal reading levels as adults.