[PRESS RELEASE] ELC Delivers Annual Book Bag Project to County Preschools

Midway Learning Center-Putnam County

The children of Midway Learning Center received hand-delivered book bags from “Pete the Cat” in Putnam County.

ST.AUGUSTINE, Fla., December 15, 2014- The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) has once again begun delivering more than 1,000 book bags as part of their annual Three-Year-Old Book Bag Project to three and four-year-olds in Clay, Nassau, Baker, Bradford, Putnam and St. Johns Counties.

Each bag contains at least 10 age appropriate books and includes educational materials for their parents concerning the importance of reading to their child.

ELC drops off the book bags to child-care centers and preschools. Volunteers also present a program which includes a story time and a special visit from a famous book character. This year’s visitor is “Pete the Cat” from the book series by author James Dean. Teachers receive a their own unique bag, which includes the complete set of “Pete the Cat” books for their classroom.

“Watching the kids’ faces light up when they find out that each of them get to take home their very own bag is priceless,” said ELC’s Early Literacy Coordinator Joan Whitson. “Many of the children we serve in our school readiness program families would never be able to afford to purchase books like this on their own.”

Studies have shown a direct correlation between how many books children have in the homes and academic success.

The average child begins school with a vocabulary of 3,000-5,000 words. Children who are not read to in early childhood may start school with a vocabulary of as little as 300-500 words, which is why programs like ELC’s Book Bag Project are so important.

The Book Bag Project is sponsored by Florida Blue Foundation, Target, TD Bank, Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine and Palatka, Sunrise Rotary of St. Augustine and Palatka, Dr. Bert Tavery and the North East Florida Association of School Psychologists.

ELC relies on donations of books and money to make this program successful every year. To make a donation, visit www.elcnorthflorida.org.

For more information about upcoming early literacy events, please contact Joan Whitson at [email protected].