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Reading is at the heart of all learning.

But in 2015, only 39% of third graders in Mecklenburg County were reading proficiently, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Reading proficiency, if developed early, is a critical predictor of school, career and life success. That’s why ASC is committed to improving reading proficiency from birth to third grade by integrating arts-based learning in the classroom and at home with primary caregivers.

Read With Love, a literacy workshop developed by ASC, teaches adult caregivers how to be more effective when reading with children.

“Reading with adults strengthens the relationship between the child and the adult, helps with vocabulary development and it’s just fun for children,” says Erin Badger-Coffey, a Wolf Trap Teaching Artist that uses arts integration in PreK classrooms across Mecklenburg County.

In the hour-long Read With Love workshop, participants make finger puppets and learn how to use their own voice for effective storytelling. Participants go home with a new book and accompanying stuffed animal to practice active reading.

“Providing caregivers with arts-based strategies that add dimension to their reading will ultimately help keep children engaged in the story,” says Erin. “When I use active reading strategies in the classroom, I notice that students are more engaged, are able to better understand complex concepts and are more likely to use their imagination.”

After families participate in a Read With Love workshop they are able to incorporate new storytelling skills at home that improve oral language, vocabulary and reading comprehension for their children.

Donate today to ensure that Read With Love workshops are available in communities across Mecklenburg County.