Every Day is Reading and Writing Day

In response to the wide gap in literacy rates prevailing between children of high and low-income families, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, has partnered with the community-development focused non-profit organization, The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), to create Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day. This new digital destination for literacy features interactive Sesame Street games, charming videos, fun activities, and helpful tips aimed to encourage children and the adults in their lives to read and write together, starting from an early age.

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press release

SESAME STREET PARTNERS WITH THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY CHARITABLE FOUNDATION TO PROMOTE EARLY CHILDHOOD LITERACY

Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day Continues Sesame Street’s Mission Helping Every Child Reach their Highest Potential…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. October 11, 2013. Research shows that prior to starting school, children from high-income families benefit from 400 hours more literacy-related activities than children from low-income families 1Furthermore, by age four, a high-income child is exposed to 35 million more words than a low-income child2.  In response to the wide gap in literacy rates that prevails between children of high and low-income families, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, has partnered with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), a non-profit organization funded by the insurance industry and focused on community development across the United States, to launch Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day.

This new bilingual, digital resource includes tips, games, and activities that parents, caregivers, and volunteers can engage children with to improve their reading and writing capabilities from an early age. The resources were unveiled today at the New York City Public Library and are available, for free, to parents across the country at www.sesamestreet.org/literacy.

In concert with the united insurance community, the IICF and Sesame Workshop will be promoting Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day at events nationwide and will be working to reach as many families and volunteers as possible through both local and national programming.

The project aims to:

  • Help parents and caregivers realize the important role they play in creating the foundation for literacy in their children.
  • Provide volunteers with engaging, fun-filled, and educational resources that they can use to positively impact the literacy development of undeserved children across the United States.
  • Present children with games and activities that will stimulate their interest in talking, reading, and writing from an early age.

“From the very beginning, Sesame Street has promoted the importance of early-childhood education. However, children from low-income families do not have access to the same educational opportunities as children from high-income families,” says Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President for Community and Family Engagement at Sesame Workshop at Sesame Workshop. “With support from IICF, we are excited to bring Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day to young children. Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day will provide families, parents, caregivers, and volunteers with materials that draw from everyday life, thus giving adults an easy way to implement literacy into their daily interactions with children.”

The program includes:

  • Video segments that draw from everyday life and model ways for parents to easily engage their children in activities around vocabulary, reading, and writing.
  • Materials volunteers can use to plan fun-filled literacy-based experiences for children and families.
  • A Parent/ Caregiver guide bursting with information and activities to encourage literacy development for children ages two to five. The guide also includes additional material that parents can use to help form the building blocks for literacy in children ages zero to two.
  • A new mobile site with videos, games, and activities for parents and volunteers to enjoy with children on-the-go, as well as an online section dedicated to Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day on sesamestreet.org.

“Together with our insurance industry partners we are proud to collaborate with Sesame Workshop on such an important initiative that will positively impact thousands of children in the communities where we live, work and serve,” said Bill Ross, chief executive officer for IICF. “The IICF and insurance industry are committed to improving early childhood literacy rates across America, but we know change will not happen overnight. This is why we felt it was so important to make a long-term, active, commitment to Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day, where we support and sponsor Sesame Workshop, but more importantly, engage the nationwide network of insurance professionals across the country to serve as advocates, stewards and volunteers for this wonderful program.”

All materials are free to download at www.sesamestreet.org/literacy.

About Sesame Workshop: Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that reaches millions of children every day in more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, Sesame Workshop develops research-based content – including television programs, books, games, mobile apps and community engagement initiatives – that supports early childhood learning, helps prepare children for school, and addresses developmental needs. The Workshop’s programs are tailored to the needs of specific regions and focus on topics that help young children and families develop critical skills for lifelong learning. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.

About the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF): The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation was established in 1994 and is completely directed and funded by the insurance industry. The foundation helps communities and enriches lives by uniting the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership. Since its inception in 1994, IICF has contributed more than $20 million in grants to charities and 166,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of community nonprofit organizations. IICF is a registered not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Learn more at about the IICF at www.iicf.org.

Visit Sesame Street at:

http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/
www.facebook.com/SesameStreetInCommunities
Sesame Street on Facebook
Sesame Street on Twitter
Sesame Street on Youtube

http://www.sesameworkshop.org/press-room/literacy/ 

Contact: 

Pam Hacker
Sesame Workshop
212.875.6225
pam.hacker@sesameworkshop.org

 Stephen Kennedy
IICF
Phone: 203.254.1300 ext.118
skennedy@prosek.com

[1] Sabrina Tavernise, “Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say,” New York Times, February 9, 2012. Retrieved from http://nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html
[2] Hart, B. & T. R. Risley. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. Baltimore: Paul Brookes, Hart, B. and Risley, T. T. (1999). The Social World of Children Learning to Talk. Baltimore: Paul Brookes.

Download Press Release

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project overview

The Project

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) have partnered together on a new early literacy initiative called Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day. This new multimedia, bilingual (English/Spanish) program will leverage the power of the beloved Sesame Street friends to motivate young children and families to make the most of everyday opportunities to talk, read, and write together.

The Need

The foundation for literacy is laid years before children even enter school, even before they can actually read and write.1 It begins with the early experiences children have with conversations, stories, books, and print.2  Unfortunately, the amount and quality of rich literacy experiences vary greatly with economic differences. By the time they start school, high-income children have spent about 400 hours more than low-income children in literacy-related activities, and also have greater access to books and other print resources.3 It is also estimated that by age four, a higher income child is exposed to about 35 million more words than their lower income counterparts.4  Therefore, now, more than ever, there is need to provide families with tools and resources to support children’s literacy development starting at an early age.

Project Goals

  • Provide engaging materials that will enable volunteers to make a meaningful impact on the literacy development of underserved children across the country.
  • Empower parents and caregivers by helping them realize the critical role they play in building a strong foundation for literacy during the earliest years of their children’s lives, and provide them with information and modeling to help them recognize the value and joy in talking, reading, and writing together with children as they go about their everyday routines.
  • Present young children with fun and age-appropriate videos, games, and activities that will nurture their motivation and excitement around talking, reading, and writing.

Digital Project Components

  • Video Segments that engage children and families in literacy activities through everyday moments.  They will also model the Sesame Street Muppets, along with real children and caregivers sharing conversations, exploring books, drawing, and scribbling together.   Key takeaway messages from the video content will be displayed and reinforced on screen as well.
  • Volunteer Materials (English only) including fun, hands-on resources specifically designed for both volunteers and volunteer coordinators to plan and facilitate rich literacy-based experiences for young children and families.
  • Parent/Caregiver Guide filled with information, tips, and family activities to encourage language and literacy development in children ages 3-5. There will also be supplemental material on ways to support early literacy development in children ages 0-2 years.
  • A dedicated online destination on sesamestreet.org for children to engage with the Sesame Street characters through literacy videos, games, and downloadable activities.
  • A newly created mobile site for adults to have easy access to key literacy content they could share anytime, anywhere with young children through smartphone and tablet devices.

Distribution

All resources created for Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day will be available for free download on the sesamestreet.org website. The IICF and their wide network of industry volunteers will also play an instrumental role in distributing and facilitating events around these materials in local communities. Sesame Workshop will form additional partnerships with early literacy, parenting, and child care organizations to disseminate these resources to as many children and families as possible.

[1] Im, J., Osborn, C., Sánchez, S. and Thorp, E. (in press). Cradling Literacy: Building Teachers’ Skills to Nurture Early Language and Literacy Birth to Five. Washington, DC: ZERO TO THREE.
[2] Parlakian, R. 2003. Before the ABCs: Promoting school readiness in infants and toddlers.Washington DC: ZERO TO THREE.
[3] Sabrina Tavernise, “Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say,” New York Times, February 9, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html
[4] Hart, B. & T. R. Risley. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. Baltimore: Paul Brookes, Hart, B. and Risley, T. R. (1999). The Social World of Children Learning to Talk. Baltimore: Paul Brookes.

Download Project Overview

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advisors

Molly F. Collins, EdD (Boston University), is a Lecturer in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University.  She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in cognitive development, language acquisition, and linguistics. Her research and classroom teaching experience focus on language and literacy acquisition in young children, particularly English learners and children in poverty.

Current projects examine factors influencing preschoolers’ vocabulary acquisition and inferential thinking during storybook reading, the quality of teacher-child language interactions, and young children’s reasoning. Collins is the recipient of the International Reading Association Outstanding Dissertation Award. She is author of several research articles, presents extensively at national and international conferences, and consults widely on preschool instruction.  Collins is a member of Jumpstart’s National Early Education Council, is past president of the Literacy Development in Young Children special interest group within the International Reading Association, and is an active member of several literacy- and education-related organizations.

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partners

The Insurance industry Charitable Foundation

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation helps communities and enriches lives by combining the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership.

More about IICF
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sesame workshop

Who we are

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street and so much more.

Our Mission

Sesame Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential.

How we do it

Our recipe for success is combining a curriculum that addresses children’s critical developmental needs with the sophisticated use of media and a large dose of fun.

A proven impact

Our work promotes learning with real, measurable results, a fact borne out by numerous studies and sustained through our research-intensive process.

Teaching the whole child

Beyond ABCs and 123s, our programs deliver crucial lessons about health, emotional well-being, and respect and understanding to help kids grow up healthy, happy, and at home in their world.

On a global scale

It began as a simple yet revolutionary idea in the United States: to teach kids through television. 40 years later, it’s grown into a worldwide educational phenomenon, reaching millions of children in more than 150 countries.

A local approach

Our international programs are tailored to the unique needs of children, their country, and culture, created with local educators, advisors, and puppeteers. This often results in a fully local Sesame Street with its own name, language, curriculum, and Muppets.

Beyond television

Since our start on TV, we’ve become a multimedia pioneer, using everything from radio, books, and videos to the latest in interactive media and technology, efforts that are enhanced through collaborations with our colleagues at the ground-breaking research and innovation lab, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

Targeted outreach

Through on-the-ground outreach efforts, we bring our lessons directly into the homes and classrooms of particularly vulnerable communities, where they have a dramatic impact in kids’ lives.

Collaborative successes

Generous support from like-minded partners — foundations, corporations, individuals, governments, and others — has been critical to our mission for more than four decades and continues to make new projects possible.

Download Sesame Workshop Overview

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contact and connect

Pam Hacker
Sesame Workshop
212.875.6225
pam.hacker@sesame.org

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