Local Rotarians give $15,000 grant to regional literacy program | VailDaily.com

Local Rotarians give $15,000 grant to regional literacy program

The Literacy Project's Raising a Reader program circulates bags full of books throughout the homes of Eagle County preschoolers each week. Local Rotarians gave a $15,000 grant to the program.

VAIL — Local Rotarians donated $15,000 to a regional preschool literacy program.

Raising a Reader and the Literacy Project were on the receiving end of a grant from the Vail Valley Rotary clubs. Local Rotarians raised some of the money, while a matching grant from Rotary District 5470 raised the rest.

The money will put the Raising a Reader program into 10 Eagle County schools preschools.

Raising a Reader program provides preschoolers and their parents with books, preschool teacher training and library connections.

"Research shows that family engagement at home is one of the most important factors to increasing literacy and academic outcomes," said Colleen Gray, executive director of The Literacy Project. "A literacy-rich home — including books in the home, regular reading between parents and children, and discussions with children — predicts language and literacy gains in the early years and early grades."

Bags of books

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Every week, Raising A Reader fills bright red bags with books, and sends those books into homes. Children enrolled in the program are exposed to approximately 100 books per year. Eagle County students rotate 600 book bags each week.

Trainers teach read-aloud techniques that stimulate early brain development and language acquisition, Gray said. The training helps parents and caregivers, even those with limited English proficiency, learn to share books with their children.

The Literacy Project has been in Eagle County for more than 25 years, and offers six key programs: One-to-one tutoring, ESL/ESOL classes, Study Friends, Reading Buddies, Middle School Math Tutorial and Raising a Reader.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.