(October 1, 2021) -- United Way’s NKY Book in a Bottle project in September received a helping hand — actually, dozens of them — when groups from HORAN and Thomas More University volunteered their time for the preschool literacy effort.
NKY Book in a Bottle is aimed at Spanish-speaking families in Northern Kentucky and is designed to help close the kindergarten-readiness gap. The project received a $12,000 grant from the E.W. Scripps Company to distribute kits. Each kit will include four to five bilingual books and a “literacy discovery bottle” containing objects representing an idea or a character from the books.
In Kentucky, about half of students enter kindergarten ready to succeed, but for Spanish-speaking children, the figure is only 31%. Studies have shown that supporting a child’s home language helps improve academic performance, even when the languages spoken at home and at school are different. But a major challenge faced by English as a Second Language and English Learners is students not having books at home. Bilingual books are helpful for Latino parents and students no matter where they are on the spectrum of reading and learning English.
At HORAN’s offices, volunteers pitched in on Sept. 1; on the Thomas More campus, volunteers helped out on Sept. 14 as part of a day of service called Saints Serve, which commemorates the university’s 100th anniversary. Each group had 15 to 20 participants. In all, they assembled 350 literacy discovery bottles, each containing color cubes corresponding to colors in the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”
Assembling the sensory bottles is the first phase of the NKY Books in a Bottle project. For the second phase, volunteers will assemble bilingual books that will accompany each sensory bottle.
NKY Book in a Bottle kits will be distributed to Northern Kentucky families that participate in English as a Second Language programs.