On February 25, 2000 the Literacy for Children Project (LFC) was launched at HUH and sponsored by Howard University Libraries and the District of Columbia Public Libraries (DCPL). There were three generous donors who made the project possible: The Hightower Foundation, R.R. Donnelley, Inc. and Sons and the Gillette Corporation.
The goal of the Literacy for Children Program is to act as a catalyst for early literacy development, ensuring that the caregivers of our at-risk patients actively participate in preschool enrichment. The act of reading aloud to a child is the very first and the most important step in the endeavor of LFC. The volunteers model behavior for the attentive listener and reader. Through liaisons with local libraries, families can capitalize on a child’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm for learning by getting a library card and taking advantage of the many free programs and services.
Beside the primary caregiver, the other person of great authority in a preschool child’s life is probably his or her pediatrician. The pediatrics residents at HUH agreed to give a book, provided by the LFC project, to each patient at every well-baby visit. This implicit endorsement of reading to infants carries a powerful message that reading aloud is one of the most important activities in which to engage. As children build a small library, they associate letters and images with concepts, thus preparing for future success in reading aloud.
Books have been distributed to Gage-Eckington Elementary School on several occasions.
This project continues to be in existence at HUH Community Services with student and adult volunteers as readers.