Partnering with parents
Through our Family Education and Literacy strategies, young children and families without access to quality early education learn together in a positive group environment with other families.
In 2018-19, we launched Story School, a two-generation approach where children and families learn together and both gain skills. Families joined alongside one another to share books, connect, and learn. Children were immersed in shared reading while parents gained skills and confidence. Families connected around the books and were empowered to share their challenges, their successes, and their stories together.
"I really just love this program, that’s why I came back and that’s why I suggest it to everybody. I love the songs and I love the interaction with the stories. I just notice it’s made the difference with my oldest daughter learning to love to read and helping her in the classroom environment, knowing to sit down and pay attention. I think that’s another skill a lot of kids don’t get if they’re not in this type of environment," shared a participating parent.
96% of children in Make Way for Books Family Education and Literacy programs gained vocabulary skills. And, 82% of children gained social emotional skills.
Launched in 2018, our Cuéntame Collaborative provides multiple strategies to ensure young children have quality early literacy and learning experiences in home-based care settings as well as with their families. Through books and stories, Cuéntame builds community among participants and affirms their roles as learners and teachers. We intentionally select and share books to elicit meaningful collective inquiry, to foster connection and community, and to connect children, families, and educators in a positive, welcoming, and culturally-responsive environment.
A participating parent shared, “I was looking for a way to support [my children’s] education, but I also wanted a community. That’s what I’ve found here…I know that I have a story, too, that I can share with my children.”
Through The Story Project, we work to ensure young children have access to literacy and language-rich environments in the classroom as well as at home.
We worked to inspire, connect, and empower educators working in a variety of early education settings. Through one-on-one coaching and professional development workshops provided throughout the year, educators gained skills, strategies, confidence, and resources to support the literacy and language development of the young children in their care. We worked closely with educators to provide high-quality books for children’s classrooms as well as lending libraries that allow families to share books together at home.
An educator shared, “Our students have developed a love and passion for reading. Reading has become a habit in our classroom and many parents have stated that it has become a ritual at home before bedtime. Furthermore, many preschool families have created a personal library at home. We are very appreciative to Make Way for Books for our classroom having access to the wonder of books for learning and enjoyment."
95% of educators feel more connected to their professional peers and the early childhood community as a result of participating in The Story Project.
“I learned that I am not alone... I have resources to help me and the children," an educator shared. "Make Way for Books has given us so many ideas and has given us the opportunity to share with our colleagues and put what we learn into practice."
Creating long-term impact
We continue to demonstrate long-term impact. Based on a sample of children who participated in Make Way for Books programs in their Pre-K years, 75% went on to score at or above benchmarks in reading assessments in kindergarten, first, second, and third grades.
The impact of this work is being recognized in communities throughout southern Arizona as we are expanding programming to Maricopa County in 2019.
We can only achieve our mission thanks to the support of our volunteers. Last year, more than 300 volunteers dedicated their time to reading to children, creating resources for teachers and families, delivering books, and more. Thank you to each and every one of our talented and passionate volunteers!
“When I go to the sites where I deliver and the children see me wheel in my cart with books, they are right behind me waiting to pick out a book from the blue bookshelf, so this is definitely used by the community. The children and their parents know the books will be replenished if the shelves are empty and this is important so they can build a library of their own at home,” shared Kathy Naylor, a long-time volunteer at Make Way for Books.
Thanks to our committed Board of Directors for dedicating their time, talent, and treasure throughout the year to help us achieve our mission.