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On Monday the 29th, Fresno EOC Early Head Start (EHS) program celebrated the expansion of their Growing Readers Family Literacy Program. Through years of program experience, it became apparent to Early Head Start staff that many low income families enrolled in program services had little or no printed materials in their homes to support childhood literacy. Early Head Start realized that challenging families to participate in a reading program when they have no materials to read, creates barriers to success for participating parents and children. As a result, Early Head Start sought to expand their current Growing Readers programs by purchasing over 1700 children’s books and sturdy book bags to distribute to over 300 Early Head Start children: now and for years to come. The main purpose is to build upon the current book lending library of high quality books for infants/toddlers/parents to enjoy together and improve childhood literacy.

Danay, 9-year old CEO of Reading Heart, and her 7-year old sister Danyell, VP of Reading Heart, were both guest speakers at the Growing Readers Expansion kick-off. They spoke about their mission of making sure every child in the world has a book and expressed the importance of children having access to books. Eric Morin of Valley PBS discussed the importance of lessening the 3 million word gap, which numerous studies have examined the fact that by 3 years of age, there is a 3 million word gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families.

Thank you to the Fresno EOC Early Head Start staff for their dedication to early childhood literacy and for planning such a wonderful event!