Read Ready Covington gaining momentum

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Taylor Harris and her daughter, Leah, use the Footsteps2Brilliance early learning app during a recent Read Ready Covington event at City Heights.

Partners spreading word for childhood literacy campaign

COVINGTON, Ky. - Four months into the Read Ready Covington literacy initiative, nearly 3,000 children and adults have registered for the free apps whose activities are the backbone of the community-wide push to better prepare children for kindergarten.
But “numbers only tell part of the story of how the campaign is steadily gaining momentum,” said Mary Kay Connolly, Director of the Covington early learning initiative.
Across Covington, Connolly said, partners from a multitude of organizations - such as public and private schools, early childhood care providers, health groups, government agencies, childhood advocates, and business groups - are working to spread the word, build support, and help parents and children register for and interact with the apps.

For example: 
  • One of those partners, the Housing Authority of Covington, has begun a weekly literacy event at the community center at the City Heights complex from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Thursday.
Leah prepares to answer a question.

HAC staff help register parents for the free Footsteps2Brilliance/ CleverKidsUniversity apps, then provide laptops and free WiFi so parents and their children can do literacy exercises and related games together during that time.
“It’s pretty inspiring to watch parents read to their young children and do the exercises together, and it’s fun to see how excited the kids get when they’re engaged in the program,” Connolly said.
HAC’s Dawn Kozlowski hosts the weekly events. She is working to increase attendance by knocking on doors, calling residents, and sending out flyers to invite parents with very young children to attend.

Dawn Kozlowski of the Housing Authority of Covington kicks off the weekly event at City Heights with a short literacy presentation.

  •  Meanwhile, last week, RRC “Champions” from partner sites gathered for a quarterly luncheon at which they shared updates about their work and brainstormed about ideas and strategies to engage families across the community. “It was interesting to hear - basically this was a renewed call to action,” Connolly said. 
  • That same evening, Read Ready Covington held a dinner workshop at the Lincoln Grant Scholar House on Greenup Street to introduce the free literacy apps to parents and to recruit ambassadors for the program in that community, which gives single parents with small children a place to live while they pursue a college degree. 
  • And on a daily basis, staff at the City’s Housing Choice Voucher Program on Madison Avenue tout the program to families who stop in to inquire about the rent subsidy program commonly known as Section 8. Program inspectors also act as RRC ambassadors when they make home visits as part of the annual inspection process and pass out backpacks to families with children up to age 8. 
The backpacks are made available in partnership with My Pre-K sponsored by United Way of Greater Cincinnati and more than 29 education partners. In addition to the activity cards, story book, and growth chart provided by United Way, Read Ready Covington partners include kindergarten registration flyers, local resources and events, information about RRC, and instructions on how to sign up for the free apps, Connolly said.

Read Ready Covington “Champions” recently gathered to hear updates and brainstorm.

About the apps:
CleverKidsUniversity caters to children ages 2 to 5, and Footsteps2Brilliance to children ages 5 to 8. They offer sequential, fun pre-reading and early reading content, including thousands of books, games, and literacy activities.
Covington residents who have children attending day-care centers or who are not in any early childhood program in the City can click HERE to create free parent and children accounts.

Staff at the City’s Housing Choice Voucher Program office pass out Read Ready Covington enrollment information along with My Pre-K backpacks.