Nonprofits team up for youth literacy project

A coalition of nonprofit organizations is launching a literacy project targeted at very young children in hopes of raising the county’s third grade reading proficiency levels.

The Quality of Life indicator’s Education Vision Council, Alliance for Kids and Pikes Peak United Way created a community-wide effort to coordinate literacy places with local birthing centers, pediatricians, early child learning centers and home visitation programs.

The first step is a book drive that will last through Oct. 19. The group is asking for new or “gently used” books targeted for children at birth through 5 years old. The books, which can be dropped off at any Wal-Mart location in Colorado Springs or any of the branches of the Pikes Peak Library District, will be distributed to parents.

Called the “Brainy Bunch” campaign, hospitals and pediatricians will include literacy and language development as a routine part of children’s visits.

The groups launched the initiative based on reports from the Pikes Peak Quality of Life Indicators report, which shows that 25 percent of third graders read below grade level.

“We want to start early,” said Noreen Landis-Tyson, president and CEO of the Community Partnership for Child Development. “We think that is the best way to start moving the needle on this indicator –  if we can educate parents to read to their children then they will be more prepared in school.”

For more information about the book drive or the literacy programs, contact 211.