The Washington State K-12 Comprehensive Literacy Plan (“CLP”) defines literacy as:
“an on-going cognitive process that begins at birth. It involves the integration of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and critical thinking. Literacy also includes the knowledge that enables the speaker, writer, or reader to recognize and use language appropriate to the situation in an increasingly literate environment. Active literacy allows people to think, create, question, solve problems and reflect in order to participate effectively in a democratic, multicultural society.”
Strong literacy skills rooted in reading and language development are fundamental for children to succeed in school and beyond. Positioning all children for success requires not only effective literacy interventions, but also the collaborative and coordinated effort of a diverse array of community stakeholders who work with families and communities to create and sustain rich literacy environments. One way the Junior League of Seattle supports literacy in the Seattle community is through Storytime Kits. Each Storytime Kit contains an outline, three books to read, and a selection of songs / rhymes / engaging activities. The JLS Youth Literacy Committee is currently developing Storytime Kits for live and pre-recorded virtual storytime sessions (available on a YouTube channel soon).
One effective strategy to develop a child’s reading and language skills is facilitating access to books in the home. Studies confirm that the number of books in the home directly predicts reading achievement. Yet not all children have equal access to books.
- In middle-income neighborhoods, a single child has access to 13 books at home
- In low-income neighborhoods, a single child has access to 0.003 books at home [i]
JLS facilitates access to books in our community through initiatives including The Big Book Drive and our Little Free Library. Books collected during The Big Book Drive are sorted, categorized, and distributed to our community partners, removing the burden from other organizations and allowing them to focus on their respective missions. We also distribute children’s books on an on-going basis through the Little Free Library located in front of the Junior League of Seattle office in the Madison Park neighborhood. Book selections in our Little Free Library intentionally reflect characters and authors who represent the diverse Seattle community we serve, including a focus on #ownvoices books.