Apple Washington, director of South Seattle’s A 4 Apple Day Care, says the literacy program she offers to the 12 kids in her care started with her young son.
When he went to preschool, he came home with a little red bag of books from The Seattle Public Library
“We were expected to read with the children every day,” Apple says. “My son really got drawn into it.”
He also proposed that his mother incorporate the program into her day care’s curriculum – so she did.
The program is Raising A Reader, an early literacy program that sends children home with a rotating selection of books and encourages parents to read them with their children. It serves children 18 months to 6 years old through organizations such as daycares, preschools, and non-proﬁt organizations that provide early learning services. Apple has offered Raising A Reader at A 4 Apple – a certiﬁed Seattle Preschool Program provider – since 2016.
Supporting early literacy programs remains apprimary focus of the Foundation.
Apple lets her kids take home two different books a week, all offered by the Library.
She coordinates the book selection with the curriculum she offers.
“The kids get excited,” she says. “They run up to their parents and want to share the books with them.”
For their part, the parents love the program, Apple says. Not only does it prepare the children for kindergarten, but it engages them in their own learning and development. Parents notice their children using more words and asking more questions during their experience with Raising A Reader.
It also holds parents responsible for reading to their children, she adds.
“What makes me happy is when our former parents give us shout-outs on Facebook and say, ‘Thank you for holding me accountable for reading with my child,’” Apple says.
Raising A Reader also brings the program manager into A 4 Apple twice a month for story time, as well as an end-of-the-year celebration. The programming is free to Apple and her students, and helps kids go into kindergarten ready to read.
“Birth to 5 years is a crucial time in their development years,” she says. “They’re storing so much in their memory and it’s key they don’t miss a major part.”