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[NEWS RELEASE] Simultaneous Reading Event Held for More Than 6500 Children in Local Counties

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Children from Andromeda Preschool in Orange Park standing proudly in front of the mural they painted to represent the book “Maybe Something Beautiful” for Read for the Record Day, Thursday, October 25, 2018.

Children from Grace Learning Center in St. Augustine proudly showing off their beautiful artwork to represent the book “Maybe Something Beautiful” by Isabel Campoy for Read for the Record Day Thursday, October 25, 2018.

Children from the Pre-K class at Mosely Elementary School in Palatka having fun for Read for the Record Day Thursday, October 25, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Simultaneous Reading Event Held for More Than 6500 Children in Local Counties

AUGUSTINE, Fla., November 9, 2018 – Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) joined Jumpstart, the Pearson Foundation and readers across the country on Thursday, October 25 to celebrate Read for the Record, America’s largest shared reading experience.

Locally, ELC provided a free copy of the the official campaign book “Maybe Something Beautiful” by Isabel Campoy to all their child care providers in Clay, Nassau, Bradford Baker, Putnam and St. Johns counties. The book was read at schools, libraries and countless special events from coast to coast, with many reading the free digital version available at jumpstart.org. Ninety-four providers participated for a total of 6,541 children participating in all local counties.

Launched in 2006, the campaign brings together millions of people to celebrate literacy by breaking the world record for reading the same book on the same day. Last year, Jumpstart broke the world record by reading to 2.5 million children around the world.

“Maybe Something Beautiful” is based on a true story of one little girl in L.A. who made a difference by bringing color to her once drab neighborhood.

“The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida is delighted to be a reading partner for this year’s Read for the Record Day,” said Joan Whitson, ELC’s Early Literacy Outreach Manager. “We support Jumpstart’s mission to help all children in America enter school prepared to succeed.”

The Early Learning Coalition is the leading voice in six counties for child care. ELC works with many other local agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Their mission is achieved by leading projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and how assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Read for the Record 2018: Maybe Something Beautiful

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Maybe Something BeautifulRead for the Record, presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, is the annual event when millions of individuals come together to celebrate literacy by breaking the world record for reading the same book on the same day.

On October 25, adults and children across the United States will read the official campaign book, “Maybe Something Beautiful” by Isabel Campoy. Find out more about this campaign by visiting: http://www.jstart.org/campaigns/read-for-the-record

The ELC of North Florida is providing every center in Clay, Nassau, Baker, Bradford, Putnam and St. Johns with a FREE copy of “Maybe Something Beautiful” along with a packet of activities to do along with the book. (There is a 2 book limit per school or Family Child Care.) For School Districts ELC can provide 1 book for each pre-K/VPK class.

To get your center’s book and packet you must RSVP by phone or email by Tuesday, October 9th to Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Coordinator at 904-342-2267 ext. 202 or jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org. A member of ECS or ELC staff will personally bring it to you or it will be mailed. In your email include your center’s name, contact person, address, phone, email, number of books and the number of children to whom you will be reading.

Joan Whitson will be submitting the totals from all of our centers to Read for the Record after the event.

Please send photos of your reading event to jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org so ELC can post them on our ELC Facebook page. The activities you will receive and reading guide can also be downloaded by visiting: www.jumpstart.org

Included in the packet we give you will be a World Record Reading Certificate for you to copy and give to each child. They can be downloaded from the campaigns/events link above..

Toddler Fest is Here!

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Join us June 2, 2018 at the Palatka Library for this free event with more than 20 organizations, including the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida. Children can participate in crafts and fun activities, including visits from fun characters. Free books will be given to preschoolers and more!

 

Early Learning Coalition’s Established Volunteer Program Makes Impact on Children’s Development

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Volunteer Erica Bauserman enjoys reading and teaching the children about bees and insects at Brandts Child Care Center in St. Augustine, July 2017.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., July 13, 2017 – Impacting thousands of preschoolers in six area counties, the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida provides reading and literacy programs for area preschools through coordinated volunteer outreach.

Managed by the Coalition, volunteers are screened and trained before setting foot in the classroom. The Coalition provides weekly volunteer readers to groups of 3-5 year olds in daycares and preschools, reading for 30 minutes to an hour as well as literacy outreach volunteers who hold monthly literacy-themed programs. Volunteers may participate in one or both programs.

Themed monthly outreach programs are based on either popular children’s books such as “Pete the Cat” and “Clifford” or themes that follow the school’s curriculum such as the ocean, jungle, senses or arts. Volunteers assist with storytelling and leading activities, often donning costumes or props to enhance the stories. Each child also receives a free book which is reflective of the theme.

The ELC has a well-stocked lending library with books and literacy materials for the volunteers to check out and use. Weekly readers are also able to create relationships with the children through their consistent appearances.

“Our volunteers are that extra-special person coming in to see them each week who exposes our preschoolers to new books and shares their love of reading,” said ELC’s Early Literacy Coordinator Joan Whitson. “The school staff has told me the children look forward to greeting the readers and go right to them when they arrive.”

Early literacy is key to brain and developmental growth, according to Whitson.

“Studies show that the best opportunity to influence our children’s lifetime learning is before kindergarten when their most rapid period of brain growth occurs,” said Whitson.  “Reading to children early sets the groundwork for their future ability to read and learn. We are so grateful for our volunteers who make this impact for our children and future.”

The ELC of North Florida is  seeking more volunteers to join this wonderful program. There will be a required orientation session on Wednesday, September 6th from 10:00-12:30 at the St. Augustine Record building located at One News Place in St. Augustine. To register or for more information to become a weekly volunteer or literacy outreach volunteer please contact Joan Whitson with the ELC of North Florida at 904-342-2267 ext. 202 and at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

About the Early Learning Coalition: The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) serves the counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns assisting parents, caregivers and educators of children ages birth-pre-kindergarten. ELC manages and evaluates early child care and education programs through a quality school readiness delivery system.

Governor Scott Proclaims May 12 Provider Appreciation Day

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Read the entire proclamation below.

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About the Early Learning Coalition: The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) serves the counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns assisting parents, caregivers and educators of children ages birth-pre-kindergarten. ELC manages and evaluates early child care and education programs through a quality school readiness delivery system.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Early Learning Coalition Implements Innovative Reading Program

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., April 27, 2017 – The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) recently developed a successful reading program that uses different methods for literacy retention.

The Mother Goose program centers around teaching through nursery rhymes and was developed through the collaboration of the ELC staff and Literacy Outreach Assistant Sandi Dunnavant.

During her career as a media specialist, Dunnavant began teaching children to learn rhyming skills, which in turn helped children learn to read more quickly and the response was always positive and fun for the children.

“Many nursery rhymes use numbers, counting and other techniques which help children’s cognitive development,” said Dunnavant. “The use of patterns and sequence help children learn easy recall and memorization.”

The new program was implemented by Dunnavant and ELC Reading Pal volunteers in local preschools and consisted of a Mother Goose theme. Different stories were performed which centered around music and rhythm sticks. All children in attendance also received a free book bag filled with Mother Goose books. The teachers all received a gift packet filled with books and resources to further instruct the children with nursery rhymes.

Due to the program’s success, ELC plans to continue the program and are looking for donations so more local daycare centers can enjoy the new program.

To learn more about the program or donate, please contact Joan Whitson atjwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

About the Early Learning Coalition: The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) serves the counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns assisting parents, caregivers and educators of children ages birth-pre-kindergarten. ELC manages and evaluates early child care and education programs through a quality school readiness delivery system.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Spreading the Gift of Reading

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By Dianne Battle, St. Johns CARES

In his book, “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut,” Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat character says to a young reader, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

It has been sixty years since Dr. Seuss penned his first Cat in the Hat book. On the 20th observance of Seuss-inspired Read Across America Day, St. Johns CARES was pleased to work with Primrose Schools of Julington Creek and St. Johns Forest to collect hundreds of books for the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) North Florida’s School Readiness Program.

ELC currently serves 6,100 at-risk children from birth to pre-kindergarten in St. Johns and five other counties. Our local Primrose schools play a significant role in donating the thousand books ELC hopes to receive as part of this year’s Read Across America Day book collection. Children who are read to at an early age show improved school readiness scores and vocabulary.

Used books appropriate for 3-4 year olds are distributed to selected pre-schools. New books are included in take-home reading packs so that children can experience being read to by parents and caregivers. Early Learning Coordinator, Joan Whitson, commented that despite serving over 6,000 children ELC always has a waiting list. Volunteers trained as Reading Pals or for Literacy Outreach, and donations are crucial. See ELC’s website, www.elcnorthflorida.org.

Donated books that are suitable for older children will be held by St. Johns CARES for summer activity packs the public school system distributes at the end of the school year to over 600 homeless students in its ASSIST (Aid & Support for Students in Sudden Transition) program. St. Johns CARES is now fundraising to provide middle school students with scholarships to attend Gamble Rogers Marine Science Camp. See the Chip in For Youth opportunity at www.stjohnscares.org.


On March 2, Primrose demonstrated its commitment to improve academic outcomes for disadvantaged children. The jeep ELC’s Kim Brumfield drove was loaded to capacity. Youngsters helped by these donations may be accepted into college some day; this month St. Johns CARES is filling suitcases with dorm necessities for college-bound ASSIST students. See our website, www.stjohnscares.org for information on Suitcases for Seniors and Chip in for Youth, or come to a meeting, 7PM third Tuesdays at Bartram Academy. St. Johns CARES is happy to help ELC North Florida keep the Cat in the Hat’s promise, “Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

[PRESS RELEASE] ELC Hosts Week of Early Literacy Featuring Dr. Seuss

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ELC volunteers Ginny Dozier and Erika Bauserman with special guest the Cat in the Hat reading the book “Ten Apples Up on Top” by Dr. Seuss to children at Brighton Day Academy in St. Augustine

ELC volunteers Ginny Dozier and Erika Bauserman with special guest the Cat in the Hat reading the book “Ten Apples Up on Top” by Dr. Seuss to children at Brighton Day Academy in St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., March 13, 2017 – Every year, the Early Learning coalition of North Florida (ELC) celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with a weeklong event to help promote early literacy.
This year, between February 27 and March 3, ELC hosted seven Dr. Seuss-themed literacy programs in local childcare centers.

The program consisted of a story time with special guest the “Cat in the Hat,” followed by other Dr. Seuss related activities and every child in attendance received a free Dr. Seuss book. Every daycare center also received a bag of assorted Dr. Seuss books and activities for their classroom.

The programs, conducted by ELC staff and volunteers, were planned at ELC’s Early Educators Conference in January, in which the centers were chose by a random drawing.

“Celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday by providing these programs is always a highlight for me,” said Joan Whitson, ELC’s Early Literacy Outreach Manager. “His books are timeless and it is fun to see the young generation as excited about his books as the older generation.”

The seven aforementioned centers included: Sugar N Spice and First Kids Learning Center in Clay County; Children’s Academy of Interlachen and Stay N Play in Putnam County; and Bartram Academy, Brighton Day Academy and Castlebrook Learning Center in St. Johns County.

To become a volunteer Reading Pal, or learn about upcoming early literacy events, call Joan Whitson at 904-342-2267 or email at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org.

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[PRESS RELEASE] Local Coalition’s Book Bag Project Seeks Volunteers

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., December 8, 2016 – Every fall and spring season, the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) host a book-bag distribution for both three and four-year-old children in Putnam, St. Johns, Clay, Bradford, Baker and Nassau counties.

In 2016, more than 1000 book bags were distributed to local child care and preschool classrooms. Each bag consisted of 10 age-appropriate books as well as information for parents about the importance of reading to children.

The bags were delivered to the children by ELC volunteers, ELC Early Outreach Manager Joan Whitson and various children’s book characters. This year’s characters included Eric Litwin’s Pete the Cat and Curious George.

“At ELC, we want to provide books for every child, especially those from families with lower incomes so they all can have the same advantages that reading brings,” Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager said.

Studies show children who are read to at an early age is the single biggest factor in improved school readiness scores and vocabulary in young children. ELC funds this program through grants, book donations and donations from local civic groups.

ELC welcomes groups to conduct book drives for them. The books need to be pre-school age appropriate. To help support this program contact Joan Whitson at 904-342-2267 or jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org.

 

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Curious George and ELC of North Florida volunteers deliver book bags to children at God’s Little Creations Learning Center in Palatka.

Curious George and ELC of North Florida volunteers deliver book bags to children at God’s Little Creations Learning Center in Palatka.

Pete the Cat and Joan Whitson, ELC of North Florida Early Literacy Outreach Manager, read books from the book bag project to hildren at Seaside School in St. Augustine.

Pete the Cat and Joan Whitson, ELC of North Florida Early Literacy Outreach Manager, read books from the book bag project to hildren at Seaside School in St. Augustine.

Special guest Pete the Cat and Joan Whitson, ELC of North Florida Outreach Manager, read books from the book bag project to the children at Miss Kate’s Preschool in Fernandina Beach.

Special guest Pete the Cat and Joan Whitson, ELC of North Florida Outreach Manager, read books from the book bag project to the children at Miss Kate’s Preschool in Fernandina Beach.

ELC reading volunteer Sara Pines and special guest Curious George read books from the book bag project to children at Green Gables Learning Center in Palatka.

ELC reading volunteer Sara Pines and special guest Curious George read books from the book bag project to children at Green Gables Learning Center in Palatka.

[WJCT NEWS] Wanted: Reading Pals to Make Books Come Alive

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Reading Pals WJCT

by Allie George [WJCT]

 

With a new school year just weeks away, North Florida’s Reading Pals are seeking volunteers to help introduce the area’s youngest students to reading. Read more: WJCT Wanted: Reading Pals