Over the past three years, Smart Start has significantly expanded early literacy programs. Literacy affects our state’s ability to create a workforce needed to compete in the global market and ensure our future prosperity. Recognizing that over 90% of language development occurs in the first few years of life, Smart Start provides programs that develop early literacy skills needed for success in school, work and life. Smart Start brings proven, national programs to the children and families of North Carolina. These programs assist parents in developing habits of daily reading with their children, and assist children in discovering an early love of reading.
- Reach Out and Read supports doctors in their efforts to “prescribe” reading to young children and families during well-child visits through early literacy guidance.
- Raising a Reader rotates bright red bags filled with award-winning books in children’s homes on a weekly basis, exposing children to over 100 books per cycle.
- Motheread/Fatheread combines the teaching of parent literacy skills with child development and family support.
- Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides a free, age appropriate book each month to children age birth to 5.
In fiscal year 2013, the following significant accomplishments were a result of Smart Start early literacy efforts:
- Smart Start served over 20,000 children through Reach Out and Read (ROR).
- Families returning to the doctor were 57% more likely to be reading to their child every day than parents new to the program.
- Among parents of younger children (aged 6 months to two years), those who had been involved in ROR longer were 69% more likelythan new participants to read to their children every day.
- Over 8,300 children participated in Raising a Reader.
- 71% of participating families reported reading together more than three times a week.
- Parents reported a better understanding of how to make reading time more effective by reading the book’s title to the child, sitting close, praising the child, and asking the child questions.
- 708 families participated in Motheread/Fatheread
- 7,062 families participated in Dolly Parton Imagination Library programs that were funded by Smart Start.