A new website launched on Wednesday is designed to help preschoolers improve their literacy and better prepare them for reading once they start school.
The website is designed to make reading fun for kids who speak English or Spanish, with simple stories, games and widgets that let kids hear how words are pronounced in both languages.
Footsteps2Brilliance.com/California is free to all 40 million Californians, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond told reporters at a press conference Wednesday morning announcing the California Bilingual Early Literacy Initiative.
“It builds on many of the efforts we’ve talked about in our efforts to ensure California students learn to read before third grade…” he said. “It will look like 500 learning activities for students to participate in, which will be fun and interactive, which will include books, games, songs and activities which, when put together, mean an increase in literacy skills for many people. ‘between them. our students.”
Short daily lessons improve success
And it doesn’t take long either, Thurmond said. Just 15 minutes a day over an eight-week period can help students progress an entire grade level, he said.
“All I can say is that this program is already showing tremendous benefits and we’re thrilled to have it,” he said.
The California-specific website was offered by Footsteps2Brilliance, whose officials appeared with Thurmond at the press conference.
Nearly two-thirds of third-graders in California read below grade level, making it difficult or, in some cases, impossible for them to have the reading skills they’ll need to succeed in their high school and post-secondary classrooms. .
California’s efforts to improve children’s literacy focus on early learning opportunities, and the state is working with Head Start, First 5 and other agencies to increase literacy so that one day every child entering kindergarten will already be able to read, said Dr. Gregory. Spencer, Vice President of Footsteps2Brilliance.
Bridging the digital divide
But what about those families who still don’t have access to the Internet? Community partners can and have helped families bridge this digital divide by providing hotspots or transporting families to community centers, Spencer said.
“And that’s why we partnered with First 5 and United Way and Head Start and philanthropists, and other community members, because now that you have access to this, we really want equitable access. “, did he declare.
Thurmond later noted that families can also work on the app offline, once they download it. But the state has earmarked $6 billion to expand broadband statewide so internet access can be universal, he said.