Reading Kingdoms holistic approach is vital to sustaining the well-being of the child + parent + community relationship that creates a positive ripple effect within the community. Also, children need more opportunities and a conducive environment to read consistently. Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) states, “nonprofit social service agencies can be of great help as partners, bringing therapeutic home-based and community-based services that no school is equipped to handle.” However according to Dr. Jack Shonkoff from Harvard University during an interview discussed, “that it is not a wealth gap, but an education and health gap,” you can listen Here.
The dynamics of time, economy, employment and role strain place stressors on families. So it is advantageous to partner with parents, and empower them on preventing toxic stress, benefits of serve and return and bonding. Families need a support system in place that is sensitized to the multicultural, socioeconomic characteristics of our communities.
The need is now; recent Kids Count statistics show that 51% of families in Pawtucket are single-parent and grand-parent run households. This condition could place families such as these in a risk group category for toxic stress; in which stifles optimal neurological development. Another obstacle that compromises the parent/school relationship is how Urban Parents interpret their child’s school. However, “it is the poverty of the parent-child experience that leads to poor child outcomes rather than poverty of a material kind,” (Shonkoff).
Phonological awareness is one of many developmental milestones that could be impacted according to Dr. Lisa Freund from the National Institutes of Health, phonological awareness is the ability to notice, and work the sounds in language. She supports that the accuracy of reading depends largely on how much a child has developed it during toddler and preschool years. These critical years are the building blocks for the future academic stronghold. However, only 44% of 3rd graders are proficient readers documented in the standardized testing for Rhode Island. In the Asa Messer School 2006 Salt Survey, a child interviewed stated, “reading more helps them read better.” This is our Gap of learning. If this trend is not prevented it will weigh the student down through their lifespan. In addition, at least 80% of all poor readers are estimated to demonstrate a weakness in phonological awareness and/or phonological memory.
Research shows that genes create the blueprint of the brain; however experience and the environment constructs the brain. We have to envelop the philosophy of partnership where direction and accountability are shared based on Evidence. This multi-tier approach of linking family, community and school is paramount in tightening the education gaps, addressing family dynamics, and creating literacy safe havens.