Sioux City Schools introduces child literacy information campaign

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The Sioux City School District says fewer than two in every five Sioux City preschoolers are academically ready for pre-k. That’s a number that preschools can’t raise on their own, so the school district is introducing something called “Prime Age to Engage.” it’s a program designed to encourage parents to become more involved in their child’s education from the time they’re born.

Experts say 80% of a child’s brain is developed by the time they’re three years old. That jumps to 95% by the time they’re six. Many parents don’t take advantage of this highly developmental time in their child’s life.

The program says the four ways to introduce language to your before preschool-aged child is talk, play, read, and sing. These four methods combined will present a child with more opportunity to learn before they enter school.

“People in our community know that it’s important to read to your children and to talk to them,” said volunteer Christie Finnegan. “But they really don’t know how much of the brain development occurs by age three, eighty percent.” 

Introducing children to language, early, prepares them for school and beyond. It’s something Kerri Hall is doing with her two year old daughter.

“Not every parent realizes that you’re not just engaging with your child,” Hall said. “You’re pausing and letting your baby babble back to you, that’s what the communication is all about.”

Reading and talking to your child not only sets them up to succeed in school, according to some studies, it sets them up to succeed in life. Dr. Jeremy Granger quoted a study comparing kids who were read to versus kids who were not.

“The group that was read to had lower health problems, better paying jobs, if you will, and high education, all tied to reading,” Dr. Granger said.

The school district hopes that by reaching out to parents, they can make Sioux City a better place to learn, and a better place to live.

If you’d like to learn more about Prime Age to Engage, visit their website at:

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