The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) is dedicated to educating families about School Readiness, one of five pillars that can help close the gap in grade-level reading. Kindergarten Readiness Bags, a tool that provides learning support for incoming kindergarteners and their families, are making a noticeable difference for kiddos in the months before school begins so that they can start school ready to learn. The generous support of The Patterson Foundation, Rotary Clubs, Charlotte Community Foundation, and the School District of DeSoto County allowed for all incoming kindergarteners in Charlotte, DeSoto, and Sarasota counties and Title 1 students in Manatee County to receive Kindergarten Readiness Bags.
Each Kindergarten Readiness Bag toolkit includes:
• Alphabet flashcards
• First-word flashcards
• Number flashcards
• Color and shape flashcards
• Jumbo crayons
• English Alphabet Literacy Chart
• A set of upper-case and lower-case alphabet magnets
• Pad of drawing paper
• Picture book
• Vroom information in English and Spanish
• Kindergarten Readiness Checklist for Parents
• Kindergarten Readiness Parent Guide
Connections forged between SCGLR and the Rotary Club of Sarasota paved the way for 2,850 Kindergarten Readiness bags in Sarasota County to include a copy of Josh the Baby Otter, the lifesaving book about water safety.
“By providing the ‘Josh the Baby Otter’ book to all incoming kindergarteners, we are not only encouraging children to read, but also sharing a simple and important message to help keep children safe: stay away from water unless accompanied by an adult,” said Jim Henry, secretary of The Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation. “The Rotary’s mission is to make the world better, one community at a time. We are excited to work with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to help students, which helps their families and their future generations.”
The Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Program is derived out of a tragedy experienced by the parents of the late Joshua Collingsworth who drowned during a family get together at their home. Blake and Kathy Collingsworth started the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation (JCMF) Children’s Charities in Joshua’s honor to decrease the number of drownings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4 and the number two cause of unintentional death for all children ages 1-14 in the United States.
In recognition of the Rotary Club of Sarasota’s dedication to our region’s children and their education, this year, the JCMF is honoring them and ten other Rotary Clubs for their commitment to advocating for water safety.