The Windham Area Women and Girls Fund awarded Eastern's Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) a $6,446 grant that will enable Ann Anderberg, assistant professor of education, Denise Matthews, associate professor of communication, and CECE staff to train bilingual women and girls on reading strategies to enhance reading among young children, and encourage families to read to children in their first language. Eastern's Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) will partner with the CECE for the project.
The researchers and CECE staff will videotape families reading in both English and their first language, and broadcast the videos on local access television to further promote reading to young children. Eastern education and communication students will be involved in the training and videotaping. The first round of sessions will be offered in spring 2013 to 12 families, while the second round will be offered in fall 2013.
Research indicates that children who master their first language can easily translate those skills to English. Very often though, young children enter an English-speaking preschool and cease all development of their first language. Without a solid foundation in either language, they struggle with literacy throughout their academic career, which hinders their long-term economic security. Ensuring that children are read to in their native language by older family members helps develop their language and literacy skills in their native language and therefore, their literacy skills in English.