Building Literacy-Rich Environments

How does where our kids live shape how they learn? A consistent state of anxiety, hunger, hopelessness, and/or trauma disrupts learning, putting children who are dealing with these types of environments at risk of falling into a cycle of poverty. Nationwide, 80 percent of children from low-income families enter kindergarten so far behind that they do not catch up and are unable to read proficiently by the end of third-grade.

Turn the Page KC and our community partners are working together to meet the needs of families living in low-income communities in Kansas City. We’ve partnered with Phoenix Family and the Kansas City House Authority to increase access to books and volunteers in public and assisted housing programs. Our goal is to create safe, literacy-rich environments that are easily accessible to kids living in vulnerable areas. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading recently recognized the Kansas City Housing Authority for its commitment to participating in the Book-Rich Environments Initiative, a collaborative effort launched by HUD and the Department of Education. The initiative aims to establish strong, local coalitions that support public housing by providing high-quality books and literacy support to children and families living in public and HUD assisted housing.

While housing is only one piece of the puzzle, we are moving in the right direction. As we look towards more comprehensive solutions, we must address things like developmental delays, trauma, and quality-seats to ensure that all kids walk through the school doors with the supports they need to achieve academic success.

To donate books to support Turn the Page KC’s commitment to building literacy-rich environments in low-income housing communities contact Jordan Frazier at jfrazier@turnthepagekc.org. To learn more about volunteering with Phoenix Family, click here.

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