Today, in an event held at the New York Public Library, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) and Sesame Workshop (the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street) announced the launch of their partnership in the name of early childhood literacy.
"We believe that every child has the potential to be great," said H. Melvin Ming, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop. "Characters can teach kids the fundamental lessons of learning and preparedness for life."
And with that, he announced the joint initiative between the two organizations, named "Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day."
Research shows that prior to starting school, children from high-income families benefit from 400 hours more literacy-related activities than children from low-income families. Furthermore, by age 4, a high-income child is exposed to 35 million more words than a low-income child.
"Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day" encompasses tips, games and activites that parents, caregivers and volunteers can engage children with to improve their reading and writing skills from an early age. Best of all, these resources, found at SesameStreet.org/literacy, are free to parents throughout the country. Specifically, the program includes:
- Video segments that draw from everyday life and model ways for parents to easily engage their children in activities around vocabulary, reading, and writing;
- Materials volunteers can use to plan fun-filled literacy-based experiences for children and families;
- A parent/caregiver guide bursting with information and activities to encourage literacy development for children ages 2 to 5. The guide also includes additional material that parents can use to help form the building blocks for literacy in children ages 0 to 2;
- A new mobile site with videos, games, and activities for parents and volunteers to enjoy with children on-the-go, as well as an online section dedicated to "Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day" on sesamestreet.org.
But why involve the insurance industry?
"We believe we have a civil responsibility to support the development of our youth," said Bill Ross, CEO of IICF. "And we have the resources available to help. The path to success has always been associated with learning. By partnering with Sesame Street ... we can help our children gain an advantage in the competitive world."