Southwest Human Development celebrates National Literacy Month year-round

Southwest Human Development has long placed a critical importance on the development of young children by supporting their families to help set them on a path of success in school and life. Though March is National Literacy Month, Southwest Human Development celebrates literacy in its every day work with children and families.

A staple within each of Southwest Human Development’s programs—whether geared toward child development, mental health, Easterseals disabilities services or child welfare—is a core foundation that emphasizes early language and literacy development.

In addition to providing more than 100,000 books to low-income families annually and educating parents about the lifelong benefits of starting literacy skills development in a child’s earliest days, months and years, Southwest Human Development offers two direct-service community programs focused on this essential area: Raising A Reader and Reach Out and Read. These programs combined with literacy initiatives like Grow A Reader create a positive impact on early literacy development in the community.

Families learn important early literacy skills through Raising A Reader

Raising A Reader is an eight-week early literacy program in which parents are provided with a wide range of learning materials about early literacy and program instruction including how to introduce their children to books and reading.

After first bringing Raising A Reader to Arizona in 2010, today, this Southwest Human Development program serves 1,000 children and families and distributes over 3,500 books each year.

The program takes place in a variety of settings such as low-income apartment communities and community centers, and all family members are invited to participate in each of the weekly sessions to experience the early learning activities together.

Reach Out and Read brings books to the pediatrician’s office

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based literacy program that reaches low-income families during their visits to the pediatrician’s office. These families, who may not otherwise have access to early literacy skills development services and information, are “prescribed” reading together as a family for at least 20 minutes every day.

More than 70 pediatric clinics throughout Maricopa County and doctors incorporate high-quality children’s books into their well-child checkups, which families are then able to keep and take home with them.

Grow A Reader gives the community a chance to buy books for children in need

Southwest Human Development helps place books in the hands of children and their families is through its Grow A Reader initiative. This virtual book drive is a fun way for any business or community organization to get involved by displaying their very own Grow A Reader flowerpot that is assembled by Southwest Human Development volunteers.

This May, Grow A Reader flowerpots will be coming to restaurants and other retail businesses in support of early literacy programs. Each Grow A Reader flowerpot features a selection of high-quality children’s books, represented on individual flowers, which people can take home with them, visit the website on the back of the flower and purchase books they would like to donate to kids in need. Some of the Valley’s best eateries will be featuring Grow A Reader flowerpots as the centerpieces of their dining room tables.

This virtual giving opportunity also allows Arizona donors to take advantage of up to an $800 charitable tax credit by supporting Southwest Human Development.

Learn more about Southwest Human Development’s early literacy initiatives.