Despite the dozens of organizations devoted to distributing books to children, the 30-million word gap still exists. It takes more than simply reading to children to eradicate this gap; the road to literacy is rich with questioning, word analyses, predicting, and more. To help expand children's vocabulary, and teach parents and caregivers how to do this, LAUP commits to launching a campaign called Project Goodnight Moon Time.
LAUP and partners will create and distribute a parent engagement and literacy tool called a Q-Card that encourages 'Goodnight Moon time' during reading and other daily activities to increase the number of words children hear each day. The LAUP Q-Cards, which will include 10 open-ended question prompts and five meaningful affirmation prompts, prepare parents to ask open-ended questions that facilitate vocabulary expansion and offer meaningful affirmations to their children. The Q-cards will be aligned with the Common Core State Standards.
LAUP will partner with Lakeshore Learning Materials, First Book, and PHFE WIC (the southern California agency has 58 sites and 225,000 monthly parent visitors) to distribute the Q-cards to their audiences, with the goal of reaching one million children, their parents/caregivers, and teachers in the 0-5 age range over two years. Lakeshore Learning Materials, WIC and First Book have committed to including Q-cards in their books and/or materials.
Lakeshore will help distribute the Q-cards through already established channels. This will include 2,500 Head Start programs serving over 250,000 children and 60 retail locations across the country serving all major metropolitan areas, with a distribution of roughly 35,000 to 40,000 books that will be paired with LAUP's Q-cards. Lakeshore will also distribute the Q-cards at all major Head Start conferences across the country, reaching about 25,000 Head Start staff. In addition, LAUP will collaborate with First Book, which has a network of more than 125,000 schools, as part of their launch of a bilingual publication of Goodnight Moon. First Book will insert LAUP Q-cards in these bilingual books. The organization will also make the Q-cards a free download on their marketplace website. PHFE WIC will include Q-cards in their materials across their southern California offices.
Finally, LAUP will produce an online tutorial to model for parents how to use the Q-cards, which will be published on First Book's website and LAUP's national ECE advocacy platform.
Quarter 1: Design Q-cards. Plan 'Project Goodnight Moon Time' campaign with partnering organizations.
Quarter 2: Continue building partnerships to establish campaign and distribute Q-cards. Print 500,000 Q-cards. Collaborate with First Book as part of their September 2014 launch of a bilingual publication of Goodnight Moon, the first of its kind. FirstBook will insert LAUP Q-cards in books. LAUP will link media and communications to First Book's campaign.
Quarter 3: With all partners, continue developing distribution plans for remaining Q-cards. Begin advertising campaign on Preschool Nation.org, stressing the importance of Goodnight Moon Time for parents and families. Create and publish videos of a family reading and dissecting a children's book using the supplemental tool.
Quarter 4: During First Book's second publication run of bilingual Goodnight Moon, it will include a built-in slot for the Q-cards, with LAUP-designed 'Project Goodnight Moon' branding. Publish online tutorial of how to use the Q-cards on Preschool Nation and First Book's parent engagement website.
Quarter 5: Collaborate with Lakeshore, WIC and other partners to manage distribution of Q-cards.
Quarter 6: Collaborate with partners to manage distribution of remaining Q-cards.
Quarter 7: National media outreach to include a robust approach that builds on LAUP's and other partners' newsletters and regional news stories. Administer survey to teachers and parents to evaluate the success of the materials and campaign.
Quarter 8: Oversee distribution of final Q-cards, giving improved literacy opportunities to 1 million children. LAUP estimates that for every Q-card given, at least two children will be impacted.
LAUP is a 10-year-old nonprofit that has raised the level of quality preschool programs by providing preschool funding, advancing teacher training, enriching curricula, and creating safe and nurturing environments at more than 640 preschools for 95,000 preschool children in Los Angeles County.
Research shows that when adults engage young children in cognitive activities, it helps develop the children's neural pathways and behavioral habits that prepare them to do well in school and beyond. Specifically, reading ability continues to be one of the most important predictors of school success. Nevertheless, by the time low-income children reach the age of three, they are already far behind in literacy skills, an obstacle that keeps them from competing academically with better-off peers. For example, three-year-olds from families of lower socio-economic status (SES) have an average vocabulary of 525 words, compared to an arsenal of 1,116 words among three-year-olds in higher SES families.
Robert Putnam, a Harvard political scientist, refers to the time that parents in wealthier homes spend with their children engaged in literacy-building routines every night before bed as 'Goodnight Moon time,' based on the classic children's book. Published in 1947, Goodnight Moon continues to be highly lauded. Despite its small size, the book's rich and subtle details in pictures and words encourage parents and children to pore over this story again and again. Putman's use of it as a metaphor reinforces how critical it is for parents to engage their children in literacy for deeper learning at home; learning that lasts a lifetime. On average, Putman reports, families of higher income are spending more than 30 minutes daily on 'Goodnight Moon time' than low-income families.