This year marks the 51st anniversary of International Literacy Day. International Literacy Day celebrates and honors the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts, and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to boost future literacy.
At United Way of East Central Iowa, we fight for the education of every person in our community, including a focus on early childhood literacy. We are proud to support several programs that boost literacy in our community. Read about a couple of these programs below.
RED Ahead provides parents information and activities to help their young children develop language skills they need to be ready for kindergarten. Based in local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics run by the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP) in our five-county service area, RED Ahead addresses the opportunity gap that exists for lower-income children. Modeling gives parents confidence to recreate activities at home, and developmental screening provides parents tools to check if their child needs additional attention. RED Ahead then helps these parents get services they need.
Youth Achievement AmeriCorps Members provide support to low-income children and families in Cedar Rapids through their work in early literacy programming, elementary school literacy tutoring and enrichment, and middle school math tutoring and STEM engagement. This program combines the power of national service with local community partners through the committed service of full-time AmeriCorps members.
VIP is a literacy program that pairs volunteers and elementary students to read together once per week during the school day. UWECI and local businesses provide one-on-one reading experiences for children who can benefit from a caring adult's extra attention. The program's goal is to increase children's success in school and to foster a love of reading.