United Way offers grant program to improve literacy rates in Colquitt Co.
MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) - Colquitt County Schools are working to improve literacy rates. All thanks to two grants from the United Way.
The Baby Packer Welcome Home Kit and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library are two programs aimed at improving early literacy in Colquitt County.
This program has only been underway for a year now with over 942 people signed up with kids under the age of five. They first saw the need when their third-grade reading level had not improved in over a decade.
“It’s about $2.50 per child per month. And to pay for that is not necessarily something that will be covered under the K-12 umbrella. So, I had to start researching ways to find different funds or some grant money that would let us bring to Colquitt County,” Dr. Nick Chastain, director of student support initiatives, said.
Both programs are for all children in Colquitt County up to age five. The unique part of the welcome home kit is that each baby born at Colquitt Regional Medical Center walks away with an age-appropriate book and a onesie.
By the time the child reaches the age of five, they will have a collection of 60 books to read.
“The director of United Way made a Facebook post after her child received a book and about 300 additional children signed up the very next day,” Chastin said.
Executive Director Caroline Horne, was able to take advantage of these two programs as she was having a child of her own at the time this grant started. She says the kids who receive a packet feel like Christmas to them.
“It’s not a school system issue. They have so many programs that are in it, from interventions to mentoring at the schools. So, we wanted to make sure that we started right at home right from the beginning,” Caroline Horne, executive director for United Way of Colquitt County, said.
The most important time frame for growth is between ages zero and three. It’s important to make sure students are performing at the grade level they need to be at so that they can be successful.
The point of both grants is to encourage kids to start reading as early as possible across Colquitt County. It’s also a daily reminder to read and talk to your children.
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