Nemours, Kaplan Introduce Nemours BrightStart! Early Literacy Program at Conference
Program Identifies, Treats Young Children at Risk for Reading Failure
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — One in five children has a learning disability such as dyslexia or other risk factors that place them significantly behind their peers in literacy skills. Too often, these challenges aren’t identified until third grade or later and, by that time, a child with reading problems may never catch up to grade level in reading. The Nemours BrightStart! initiative provides educational programs for at-risk four- to five-year-olds so they can get a jump start on reading success.
According to Nemours BrightStart! Executive Director Laura Bailet, Ph.D., “The program serves children early on, before they even start school, who might otherwise struggle with reading their whole lives.” By bringing together pediatric specialists in brain science, researchers, and early learning experts, Dr. Bailet and her team at Nemours have pioneered a one-of-a-kind program that identifies children who are behind in their pre-literacy skills, links them with intensive intervention, and monitors their progress. Until recently, no program has addressed this opportunity to prevent reading failure in children of preschool age. The goal of the intervention program is to help students catch up by stimulating the fundamental skills needed to become readers.
A Partnership to Prevent Reading Failure
Nemours BrightStart! has been piloted in the Jacksonville, Florida area since 2005. Nemours is now proud to partner with the Kaplan Early Learning Company and Gryphon House in making the Nemours BrightStart! curriculum widely available to early childhood educators. It is being previewed at the National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference in Anaheim, CA, the week of November 1, 2010 and will be available for purchase. The curriculum for pre-kindergarten children identified as at risk for reading failure focuses on numerous critical pre-reading skills:
- Letter identification, letter sounds, print concepts, and emergent writing;
- Oral language skills, including story comprehension and vocabulary;
- Phonological awareness, including breaking words apart into syllables and rhyming.
The curriculum consists of 20 highly interactive, engaging lessons designed for one-on-one or small group instruction. Nemours BrightStart! lessons incorporate multisensory teaching so that children see, say, touch, and act out the lessons.
Erin Callahan, MEd, teaches the Nemours BrightStart! curriculum in Jacksonville, Florida. Callahan said, “Learning challenges do not have to be a permanent barrier to success. Parents should not have lower expectations for their child with a learning challenge.” Just ask Sophie A of Jacksonville. She and her husband were not surprised when they received the results of a Nemours BrightStart! screening for son Andrew. “He has some difficulties with speech and had been receiving speech therapy for more than year,” when the screening was done, she recalled. His results were low for his age group – he scored just 5 out of 20 for print knowledge, letters and sounds – indicating that Andrew was a candidate for the Nemours BrightStart! intervention. Sophie admitted, “We were worried that if he got behind he might never catch up.”
Although intensive reading instruction can be helpful at any age, results are better when instruction begins as early as possible, at age four or five. Nemours BrightStart! shows great promise for having a positive impact on children’s learning and academic success. Andrew is now in kindergarten and scoring in the 90th percentile for his peer group in letter and sound recognition. Sophie and her husband are delighted with the strides he has made. “Nemours BrightStart! helped Andrew tremendously by giving him focused, one-on-one attention. He had a very positive attitude about the instructor and the lessons. The fact that he is now advanced for his age and starting to sight read in kindergarten is all we had hoped for. His teacher has been blown away by his progress, too.” Andrew’s story is not an anomaly. Dr. Bailet noted, “From our pilot work in Florida, we know that we can bring two-thirds of children with the lowest scores up to peer level with this intervention.” See testimonials from educators in a short video about Nemours BrightStart! here.
In addition to offering the curriculum for teachers, Nemours BrightStart!, in partnership with Kaplan Early Learning Company and Gryphon House Books, a publisher of early childhood resources, has produced A Parent’s Guide to Reading Readiness and the Nemours BrightStart! Milestone Map. The guide includes a checklist of reading readiness skills for pre-kindergartners, lists of children’s books to read aloud, and fun activities to do at home to prepare children for learning to read. The map is an illustrated poster featuring reading readiness milestones from birth to age 6 and warning signs–indications that a child might be at risk for reading challenges. Both the guide and the map are available for less than $10 each. See this link for more information.
Nemours is an integrated children’s health system with operations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. The organization’s hub is the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, a 200-bed full service pediatric medical center in Wilmington, DE. In Florida, the Nemours Children’s Hospital is under construction near Orlando and expected to open in 2012.
Nemours provides health education through KidsHealth, the world’s most visited web site dedicated to the health of children; health promotion and obesity prevention programs through Nemours Health and Prevention Services, and adjunct programs in detection and intervention such as the Nemours BrightStart! early literacy initiative.