NORTHERN KENTUCKY (Jan. 31, 2022) — Hundreds of United Way’s NKY "Books-In-A-Bottle" kits were delivered to families in late January. The preschool literacy project is designed to boost kindergarten readiness for children in Spanish-speaking families.
The Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission’s Head Start program, which serves families in Campbell, Kenton, Boone and Pendleton counties, received 300 kits. Esperanza Latino Center, based in Covington, received 100 kits. Each kit contains four to five bilingual books and a “literacy discovery bottle” containing objects representing an idea or a character from the books.
“The kits perfectly enhance our education staff’s lesson plans and provide our families with the materials they need to easily incorporate into their home life without a financial burden,” said Lindsey Conger, associate director of family services for NKCAC.
The goal of Head Start, Conger noted, is to prepare students and families for kindergarten. That aligns with United Way’s support of quality early-childhood education, which is rooted in data that show children who are kindergarten-ready are far more likely to succeed in school and to achieve financial stability later in life.
“We know from U.S. Department of Education research that one of the most important factors in school success is the extent to which parents actively participate in their children’s education, especially reading to children,” Conger said. “The same research showed that families in which parents’ primary language at home is Spanish have especially low rates of participation in literacy activities. We have to provide the appropriate resources to Spanish-speaking families for them to engage at home to close the readiness gap.”
Conger said Book in Bottle kits will benefit the entire Head Start program, “but we’re especially excited to better engage our Spanish-speaking families.”
The NKY Book in a Bottle project was made possible by a grant United Way received from the Scripps Foundation. Kits were assembled by volunteers from HORAN, Cummins Filtration and Thomas More University.
Linda Vila Passione, an advocate for Hispanic families in Northern Kentucky, helped identify the organizations that would benefit most from the project and the impact it would have.