Friends of Literacy graduate pre-K students from program

Susan EspirituOur Town Youth

Pre-K students at Maynard and Spring Hill Elementary Schools celebrated their graduation from the Raising A Reader program, a national nonprofit that focuses on early childhood literacy and family engagement.

Sample bag given out during the year

Since 2022, Friends of Literacy has been the Knoxville affiliate of Raising A Reader program whose goal is to engage parents and caregivers in a routine of book sharing with children to foster healthy brain development, healthy relationships, a love of reading and the literacy skills critical for school success.

For the 2023-24 school year, Friends of Literacy implemented the Raising A Reader Classic Red Book Bag program for the two schools’ pre-K students. Each week, every child took home a red bag filled with books to read and share with their parents. The bags included tips for parents such as taking a picture walk through the book before reading, letting their child turn the pages or asking questions about what will happen next.

Twice a year, Friends of Literacy hosts family engagement events at the participating schools to encourage and support parents. For the 2023 winter break, the event included pizza, a winter-themed craft, a new take-home book and ideas for parents to encourage literacy over the break.

Graduation “blue” bag

At the May graduation celebration, children received their own blue book bag filled with four books, fun stickers, literacy activity calendars for June and July, and a whiteboard to encourage pre-writing skills.

“Me and my son really enjoyed this opportunity. It was great to expose my kid to different worlds, and he really looked forward to reading every day.” — RAR parent

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