We are pleased to share this article from Erin Wolfman, Creative Director for Connections to Success in St. Charles, Missouri. Erin’s guest blog highlights the role that early literacy development can play in a child’s life. Thanks to Connections to Success
for allowing the Library Foundation
to touch the lives of the families they serve.
Breaking the cycle of poverty through literacy initiatives
The St. Charles City-County Library District teamed up with Connections to Success, a local nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty, for their annual holiday party on
December 8th. The hundreds of families that attended this event enjoyed dancing to the tunes of Big Poppa – our holiday DJ – a hula hooping contest, pictures with Santa, craft-making workshops, games, lots of healthy food, a health fair, and story time with volunteers from the library district.
This year’s theme included healthy living and healthy families, because breaking the cycle of poverty starts with a strong family unit. One of the main reasons that Connections was thrilled to partner with the St. Charles library district, is because we knew that they could help foster excitement around reading. Story time was not simply about children hearing a fun story or receiving a book to take home with them, but ultimately, it created enthusiasm to continue reading with their families throughout the year.
Why is this important? According to the latest facts on literacy, fourth grade is a watershed year for students. If a child isn’t reading proficiently by this time, not only do they have a 78 percent chance of not catching up to their peers, but they have significantly higher chances of incarceration or becoming dependent on the welfare system.
Many Connections program participants come from a background of incarceration and/or generational poverty. These families now have children that, if not inspired to read, have a higher chance of getting caught in that same cycle of poverty.
Because of partnerships and programs, such as the early literacy program of the St. Charles library, Connections has the support to provide literacy tools to families and the next generation. And just maybe, together, we can help break the cycle of poverty in the greater St. Louis region.