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Smart Kids With Learning Disabilities, Inc. Launches Pre-Literacy Pilot Program in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with Major Grant from Verizon Foundation

(PRWEB) June 26, 2007 - Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. launched a pre-literacy pilot program in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with an $8,500 grant from the Verizon Foundation. The three-session pilot program provides pre-literacy skill training to parents of preschoolers at the Cesar Batalla School
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. The workshops are in English or Spanish and model pre-literacy games and activities, including songs and rhymes, for three and four year olds.

 “  Our intent is that our pilot program serve as a template for additional programs in Bridgeport and other culturally diverse, high-risk communitie...  
An additional workshop will be given to preschool teachers and caregivers and will include edited videos of the parent sessions.

The pilot program is co-sponsored by the Cesar Batalla Family Resource Center in Bridgeport. The Center is one of four funded by the state that serves Bridgeport's low income population. Many are newly arrived immigrants with limited or no English proficiency. One in three children has no preschool experience.

The three pre-literacy workshops are led by Dr. Margie Gillis, Director, Haskins Literacy Initiative, Haskins Laboratories, and her colleague Dr. Evelyn Russo, a bilingual reading specialist. Haskins Laboratories is an independent language
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 research facility associated with Yale University.

The Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities pilot program includes dinner and childcare for the parent participants, plus hands-on practice of newly learned skills with their children. The training emphasizes activities that parents can use at home, including games enhancing oral language
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, familiarity with alphabet letters, rhyming and how words in a book convey the message of a story.

Each family will receive a set of magnetic, brightly painted wooden alphabet letters, six children's books and print materials to reinforce each lesson.

Brief assessments of the children's pre-literacy skill levels are conducted before and after the workshops, according to Jane Ross, Executive Director, Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.

"Our intent is that our pilot program serve as a template for additional programs in Bridgeport and other culturally diverse, high-risk communities," she said. "We feel it is urgent to promote reading readiness and help narrow the gap where children fall behind before they have even entered kindergarten."

Other supporters for the pilot program include the DS Culpeper Foundation, Citizens Bank, RBS National, Westport-Weston United Way, Rotary Club of Westport and Westport's Sunrise Rotary Club.

About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.:

Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADHD). Its mission is to educate, guide and inspire families dealing with disabilities and to change the perception of learning disabilities as a stigmatizing condition. David Neeleman, Chairman of JetBlue Airways, serves as its Honorary Chairman.

Contact:

Jane Ross, Executive Director
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, Inc.
203-226-6831
http://www.SmartKidswithLD.org

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