Reach. Read. Repeat.
I’ve been plenty of things in my life (e.g. behavioral therapist, world explorer, full-time mom) but confident reader was not, until recently, on the list.
Does anybody else recall those early years of learning how to read with a bit of anxiety? Though my kindergarten teacher was as patient as one might expect, I felt like she’d thrown me in the deep end. On top of that, I was embarrassed that my peers were reading faster and more fluently than I was. Even in college it seemed that everyone else could read three novels, five academic articles, and a few blogs all before breakfast.
Now that I’ve discovered an AWESOME method of teaching early literacy, I’m eager to share it with as many kids as I can. I don't want them to have to wait until adulthood to feel confident and capable. And, though they aren't aware of this while being taught how to read, early readers are far more likely to succeed in all subject matters later on. (If you want to read more about the direct instruction approach and Laureate Letters Tutoring, click here.)
So here's my plan to get kids started in the right direction as early as they're ready: in addition to one-to-one tutoring sessions, I’d like to build confidence and enthusiasm by sending them home with a starter kit. In fact, I’d like to make 99 starter kits. Think: colorful, silk-screened tote bag filled with reading-related goodies.
I, of course, would be doing the screen printing myself, and that’s part of what this project is funding. Inside the bag, kids would find the very same text we use during tutoring so that they can explore it independently in the home environment.
They would also find supplemental materials like laminated “letters” (I use quotation marks because really, we’d be teaching sounds) and sticky tack that allows them to hang these sounds anywhere around the house. Throw in some magnets and stickers, and you’ve got yourself a goodie bag that kids are excited to call their own.
If you’re passionate about early childhood literacy, or if you’re already aware of the studies that link early reading to higher success rates in ALL fields, or if you just like giraffes and reusable bags, I’d be mighty obliged if you’d pitch in ten or eleven bucks. Of course I wouldn’t turn down more, either! Thank you SO MUCH for your support!
Risks and challenges
I’m new to silk screening, so I can imagine that there might be some element of learning the hard way! However, I've already watched about five thousand online tutorials and I’ve reached out to my crafty friends in order to learn more about the trade. I would hope that these same resources could help me through any technical difficulties that might arise from the actual printing process. Aside from this step, I feel pretty confident that gathering the goodies and stuffing the totes will be smooth sailing!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Well, YOU, if you choose one as your reward! (Remember, the $24 reward is the empty silk-screened tote; with a $51 pledge you also get the 'goodies' inside.) If you're just interested in supporting the cause, then the bags are for the clients of Laureate Letters Tutoring (http://www.laureateletters.com). Much as musicians launch Kickstarter projects to pay for start-up costs in making an album, I have launched my project to fund the expenses of the goodie bags that all Laureate Letters clients take home.
So far, I've envisioned the tote to include the following items: a copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, laminated sound cards to use in more generalized settings (i.e. if you hang the sound cards on your child's bathroom mirror, s/he can practice reading every day during tooth-brushing time!), sticky tack to hang said card, a star chart that I encourage you to copy and use for any other motivational system you see fit, some self-explanatory data sheets that help you keep track of your child's progress, and probably a Laureate Letters magnet and some stickers. I suppose 'starter kit' is the more accurate name, but 'goodie bag' is so much more fun to say!
Of course (or maybe not?) I'll just make more goodie bags! I also plan on starting something of a scholarship program for families who express interest in early childhood literacy and who demonstrate financial need. This will probably occur in my home neighborhood (which is more rural and less affluent than the LLT office) and will make the starter kits (not just the empty totes) available for a vastly reduced price. In my experience, families are more willing to invest their time and attention to a program in which they also have a small amount financially invested; a freebie is more likely to end up unused than an almost-freebie.
Beyond that, if I exceed the 100% mark, I also plan on reinvesting the pledges in Laureate Letters Tutoring. I'd like to build this business as soundly as possible! Thanks in advance for your support!
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