‘Read Ready Covington’ soon to be familiar phrase

COVINGTON, Ky. - The images feature cartoon drawings of adults reading to children ... and soon they’ll be seen on posters, bookmarks, and stickers all over Covington.
It’s all part of a community-wide mobilization launched tonight to use reading to better prepare Covington’s children for kindergarten.
Read Ready Covington is the name unveiled tonight for the childhood literacy initiative that will be one of the City’s most visible priorities over the next few years.
“Early literacy must become a shared community value,” Mayor Joe Meyer told 80 to 90 people gathered at The Carnegie for the launch.
The event included the unveiling of the new name, a visual brand and marketing campaign designed by the creative design firm BLDG, and a call to action for the nearly two dozen partnering organizations who have signed on to the effort.

"Starting at age 5 is too late," Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said.

The foundation of the campaign will include the use of free early literacy apps for parents living in Covington zip codes. The apps are designed to help parents introduce reading skills to their young children and share time reading together.
But it also will include monthly literacy events (with the first one in the City Heights public housing complex on Nov. 15), a community-wide push to introduce the apps to parents and encourage their use, and the marketing effort designed to galvanize the community.
The images on the posters and other material depict adults of varying ages and races reading to children and the words “Read Ready Covington” (or “Listo A Leer Covington”) and the quote “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
The faces are purposefully designed to reflect the many different looks of families today, said Mary Kay Connolly, who was hired by the City to coordinate the initiative.
The launch ceremony tonight included short testimonies from many of the City’s partners, which include both public and private schools, early childhood care providers, health groups, government agencies, childhood advocates, and business groups. 
  • Tricia Thomas, an experienced kindergarten teacher at Holy Cross Elementary in Latonia, said she’s been using one of the reading apps with her students two to three times a week for years. “It’s super convenient ... and simple to use,” Thomas said. 
  • Leo Calderon, a former member of the Kentucky Board of Education and director of the Northern Kentucky University Latino Institute for Excellence, said he was eager to collaborate on the campaign and predicted it would have a significant impact in the Latino community. 
  • And Gene Kirchner, the former superintendent of Fort Thomas schools and now senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said that a focus on early childhood education represented the single-greatest investment the region could make in its economy. “In this region, we need talent,” Kirchner said. “We need to attract talent and retain talent, but most importantly, we need to grow talent.” 

People who attended the launch tried out one of the marketing tools.

Meyer used a similar message to explain why the City was driving the effort - it had the most to gain from a more highly educated work force with families with higher incomes and thus a higher quality of life, he said.
It also has the wherewithal to bring together the communitywide partners, especially those who work with children before they enter school, he said.
“Starting at age 5 is too late,” he said.
The night ended with a call to action - sharing word about the campaign - and a request to “stay tuned” as the marketing campaign is implemented.
Stickers, for example, ask children “Who read to you?” and give them space to fill in a name.
“It always seems impossible ... until it’s done,” Connolly said.
About the apps
The Footsteps2Brilliance/CleverKidsUniversity dual apps are run on the same platform by the same company.
CleverKids caters to children ages 2 to 5, and Footsteps to children ages 5 to 8. They offer sequential, fun pre-reading and early reading content, including thousands of books, games, and literacy activities.
Children attending school can sign up for the app with help from their teachers. Children in preschool or child-care facilities in many instances can do the same.
Or Covington residents can go to to create free parent and children accounts. The registered adult will receive a username and password to log into the apps and also your children’s Super Secret Code.
Using any smart phone, tablet, laptop, or computer, parents can download the free apps but should download only the books, songs, and games that they plan to use. It is notnecessary to download the entire app at one time. This could slow down your device or use too much data at one time.
For a video that explains the Footsteps2Brilliance app, see the Covington Independent Public Schools website HERE.

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