Superintendent Krystal Lomanto on May 23 hosted Building Bridges 2 Literacy, a Bilingual Early Literacy Innovation Summit, at Spring Grove School.
According to an announcement from the education office:
This transformative literacy effort supports the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Students. Through this initiative, the San Benito County Office of Education (SBCOE) has partnered with Footsteps2Brilliance, Inc., the creators of an innovative early learning mobile technology platform that enables San Benito County to provide – free of
charge – libraries of eBooks, educational games and activities, and creative writing opportunities to every family with 0- to 5-year-olds and Pre-K through third-grade students who reside within San Benito County.
Research shows that the greatest disparity of knowledge among children is the vocabulary gap – the number of words a child knows from birth through third grade. Children from low-income families hear 30 million fewer words before the age of 4 than their more affluent peers. This problem is compounded by the fact that 61% of low-income children have no books in their homes. No single strategy offers a greater return on investment than providing early learners
with the tools needed to read proficiently by third grade. Every $1 dollar spent on quality early
childhood interventions produces a $14 to $17 return.
Footsteps2Brilliance provides a comprehensive curriculum of over 1,000 English and Spanish books, songs, and games that are fun for children and address the vocabulary gap. Most importantly, these educational resources can be accessed from any smartphone, tablet, or computer with or without an Internet connection. Research shows that more than eighty percent of parents own smartphones or mobile devices. In partnership with Footsteps2Brilliance, SBCOE is giving families, schools, and the community the high-quality educational tools they need to accelerate vocabulary, reading and literacy using the devices they already own.
“When you have a kindergartner who starts school from a low, socioeconomic disadvantaged family, that does not have access to literature or is not read to, there is a 30-million word gap by age 3,” Superintendent Lomanto said. “When that happens, it takes a long time in that child’s education to make up for that gap, if ever.”
San Benito County has 38.6% of its citizens speaking a language other than English at home, with the most common non-English language is Spanish. By becoming a Model Innovation County, SBCOE will serve as a blueprint for districts and counties around the nation to achieve early literacy success in dual language communities.