Community Leaders join CHS to create a virtual library of children’s books
When the COVID-19 crisis catapulted Florida students into distance learning overnight, it led to an early start to the traditional “summer slide,” particularly for students in low-income families, as one in three parents living below the poverty level reported that they are “very concerned” about their children falling behind in learning, according to an NPR article that revealed the remote learning gaps for low-income students. This parallels with research that indicates that 80 percent of children living below the poverty level fail to develop reading proficiency by the end of third grade.
To help combat these gaps, and to provide a safe, educational activity for kids and families in the midst of social distancing, Children’s Home Society of Florida has launched “Storytime with CHS,” a virtual library with honorary readers – including members of Florida’s Cabinet, elected officials, media personalities, a Miami Dolphin and more – reading aloud their favorite books.
“We know many families are struggling to find easy opportunities for their kids to engage in fun and educational activities right now, especially with the many necessary precautions we’re all taking in light of COVID-19,” says Andry Sweet, president and CEO of Children’s Home Society of Florida. “Storytime with CHS offers families something fun to do together or, if needed, it provides parents a short – often needed – break, knowing their kids are engaged in a safe, positive activity. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of our ‘honorary readers’ who share our passion for bringing the love of reading to more kids.”
Statistics show that one-third of low-income children are read to daily, and one in three U.S. children begin kindergarten without the language skills needed to learn to read. Storytime with CHS aims to help provide additional reading time for children who may not otherwise have such opportunities.
With an online library accessible on Facebook and Vimeo, Storytime with CHS includes “Goodnight Miami,” read aloud Miami Dolphins Running Back #32 Patrick Laird as well as stories from Attorney General of Florida Ashley Moody, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran and Florida’s Teacher of the Year Dr. Dakeyan Graham, Sen. Aaron Bean representing Senate District 4, Rep. Travis Cummings representing House District 18, several mayors, school board members and district representatives, media personalities, and leaders and friends of Children’s Home Society of Florida.
Storytime with CHS features a “story of the week,” which also includes an activity for kids to complete and share.
Children’s Home Society of Florida continues to build the virtual library and invites members of the community to become involved, too. Those interested in learning how to be part of Storytime with CHS can visit www.chsfl.org/Storytime for more information.
About Children’s Home Society of Florida
On the front lines since 1902, Children’s Home Society of Florida is the oldest and largest statewide organization devoted to helping children and families. Children’s Home Society of Florida serves more than 50,000 children and family members throughout the state each year. More: www.chsfl.org.