BOOKS FOR KIDS
In 2021, Lit Youngstown secured grants for two major projects focused on providing quality children’s books to children in the Youngstown area. These projects promoted a love for reading, allowed teachers and caretakers an opportunity to read and complete activities with children, and encouraged language development and literacy skills.
The first project was the Literacy and Literary love: Head Start Book Project, in which Lit Youngstown collaborated with Alta Head Start to provide 760 children ages 0-5 with two quality children's books.
The second project was Project Pass Books for Kids, which Lit Youngstown collaborated with Project Pass to provide over 500 children's books to children grades 2nd-4th in the Youngstown City Schools.
Head Start is a federally funded, early education program provided to low-income families with children ages 0–5 that has many goals including promoting closing literacy and reading skill gaps. Alta Head Start is a program that provides Head Start facilities and 50 classrooms across Youngstown. See their website for more details.
Project Pass is a mentorship program pairing 2nd-4th graders in Youngstown City Schools with teaching students from YSU.
Why these projects?
Research shows that reading increases cognitive and linguistic competencies and language development for young children. Specifically, across 27 nations, the number of books in a child’s home has been shown to positively impact educational attainment. However, in the lowest income neighborhoods, it is not uncommon for just 1 in 300 children to own a book compared to their middle-income peers who own an average of 13 books per child. The lack of access to books for these children may increase their risk of scoring poorly on reading tests and falling behind in school.