Today, more than four out of every ten children in Buffalo enter Kindergarten one to two years developmentally behind where they should be to be successful. Read to Succeed Buffalo is leading the battle to give our children a fighting chance to succeed in school.
Our focus is on preparing children for school by helping to improve language and literacy skills in infants and preschool children and in working to support them through through third grade when the pivot from "learning to read" to "reading to learn" occurs.
By preparing children for school before they enter, the odds of academic success improve significantly. Research shows that children who start behind in school tend to stay behind, leading to poor academic achievement, high drop out rates and often a lifetime of struggle. We also know that if children have not mastered the skills to read by third grade they are at risk to continue to fall behind.
Read to Succeed works with nearly 40 coalition partner organizations to create a culture of literacy within our community. We spearhead initiatives that give children the literacy and language tools necessary for success in Kindergarten and beyond.
Read to Succeed Buffalo collaborates with our partners to transform current systems that are simply not working. By listening to the needs of residents, providing services in trusted places such as libraries and community centers, and creating synergies through the collaboration of existing providers, Read to Succeed Buffalo is already seeing a positive impact in our community.
We have begun our work in a designated literacy zone in order to address the very specific literacy needs in one area, create models that work, and then replicate these models in other areas as we realize success. We have chosen the northeast corner of Buffalo (primarily zip code 14215) as our designated Literacy Zone because the need is great, and there are also strong community assets on which to build. Read to Succeed is striving to create a culture of literacy in this community to stress the critical need for literacy skills and to make education a strong community value.
Working with our coalition partners, Read to Succeed has implemented preschool literacy programs with strong initial results. We work with children in home-based childcare settings through our Project CARE program with infants to three-year old children. We also work with three- and four-year old children in five Bethel Head Start Centers through our Literacy Coaching Model program (formerly Early Reading First). By infusing literacy throughout these programs, we have seen significant improvement in children's ability to acquire the skills necessary to begin school successfully.
We have only just begun and there is significant work to do. Our plans include creating more programs and services that will foster a culture of literacy within our community, as well as to provide tangible resources for families with preschool children (infants to age five) to help them prepare their children for academic success.