Rhode Island Reads to Young Children

Led by United Way of Rhode Island and Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, Rhode Island Reads: The Campaign for 3rd Grade Reading is working to double the number of third-graders who can read on grade level by 2025. This spring, we teamed up with the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children to build awareness of the need for high-quality early learning opportunities for young children by organizing reading events in early learning programs across the state. This year, we focused on reading to infants and toddlers, because the roots of literacy begin in infancy.

Thirty-five guest readers participated --  25 state legislators and 10 community leaders, including the Director of the Department of Human Services, the Director of the Department of Labor and Training, and members of United Way of Rhode Island's Women United. 

State Senators included: Senate President Ruggerio, Senator Goodwin, Senator Conley, Senator Archambault, Senator Quezada, Senator Goldin, Senator Cano, Senator Euer, Senator Calkin, Senator DiPalma, Senator Crowley, and Senator Lynch Prata. 

State Representatives included: Representative Abney, Representative Morgan, Representative Regunberg, Representative Tobon, Representative Casimiro, Representative Carson, Representative Amore, Representative Morin, Representative Diaz, Representative McNamara, Representative Slater, Representative Giarrusso, and Representative Ruggiero.  

Click here to see the photo album!
Register Now for State Pre-K and Head Start!

Families with children who will be age 4 by September 1, 2018 and who live in one of the State Pre-K communities can now register for the State Pre-Kindergarten lottery. State Pre-K communities are: Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, Newport, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick, West Warwick, and Woonsocket. 

Families can apply for the lottery online here or download a paper application in English or Spanish to complete and drop off at the State Pre-K program location of your choice. Lottery applications will be accepted online and at State Pre-K locations through July 2, 2018. Families with very low income have another option for preschool and can apply for enrollment in Head Start. Head Start is offered statewide to children who are age 3 or 4 by September 1. There are also Early Head Start programs available for children under age 3. Children are selected for Head Start based on the needs of the family. Contact information for Head Start and Early Head Start programs serving each community in Rhode Island is available here.
Summer Reading for Children Birth through Age 8

Summer is almost here and it is the perfect time to find new books to read to young children. Reading to young children builds their background knowledge about the world, introduces new vocabulary words, and helps to establish a connection between sounds they hear and print they see. The American Library Association has a list of new books to check out this summer for children from birth through preschool, and for children in Kindergarten through Grade 2. Two of our favorites are:
  • Little Elephants/Elefantitos (Birth-Preschool): A bilingual lift-the-flap book that is based on a traditional Mexican counting song -- more and more elephants keep trying to balance on a spider web, much to the dismay of the spider!
  • My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis (Grades K-2): Tells the story of a praying mantis who hides from predators by masquerading as a stick, sometimes eats a brother or sister, and can swivel her head all the way around!
New Resource: State Kindergarten through Third Grade Policies

High-quality, early elementary years offer a critical opportunity for development and academic learning for all children. Key components of a quality, K-3 experience include kindergarten, qualified teachers, seamless transitions, appropriate assessments and interventions, family engagement, social-emotional supports and academic supports. Education Commission of the States has researched the policies that guide these key components in all 50 states to provide this comprehensive resource.
United Way Day of Action: Rhode Island Focuses on Reading!

The United Way of Rhode Island and Books Are Wings teamed up for a Day of Action on June 2nd to ensure children can experience the fun of reading. Rhode Islanders joined together to sort, label, and package the books collected during their annual Children's Book Drive. Volunteers packed 21,736 books for local children, just in time for summer reading!
Strolling Thunder Rhode Island

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, in partnership with ZERO TO THREE, organized a major advocacy event to bring approximately 40 Rhode Island families with babies and toddlers to the State House. Strolling Thunder Rhode Island took place on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Please see the fantastic event pictures, Twitter activity, Capitol TV clip, media release, and Kidoinfo coverage

Strolling Thunder™ is the flagship advocacy event of the Think Babies™ campaign, part of a national campaign designed to bring attention to the many issues that affect what babies and families need to thrive. This year our focus is on the importance of high-quality child care for infants and toddlers.
New Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Issue Brief 

Working Parents, Child Care, and Paid Family Leave in Rhode Island includes data and research on low-income working families and provides a deeper analysis of three key policies - child care assistance, paid family leave, and earned sick leave - that promote family economic security and children's development and school readiness. The Issue Brief highlights several priorities on the RI Reads advocacy agenda:
  • Support the Governor's FY19 Budget Proposal to add $1.5 million to the Child Care Assistance Program to promote higher quality child care for infants and toddlers by establishing tiered quality rates (Article 15).
  • Promote passage of H-7148 and S-2120 to improve the quality of child care for all age groups of children by establishing a tiered quality rate structure for the Child Care Assistance Program, with increased rates for all child care providers serving low-income families and larger increases for higher quality programs.
  • Improve the state's paid family leave program to increase the number of weeks available to bond with and care for a new child and to ensure low-wage workers receive adequate wage replacement to be able to take time off when they have a baby.