Through the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Manatee County Government employees were encouraged to download Vroom, a free app for parents and caregivers with children from birth to five years old. This app, developed by the Bezos Family Foundation, uses the most recent brain science to give parents actionable tips to turn everyday moments into brain-building moments.
For eight weeks, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level reading ran a sweepstakes celebrating Manatee County Government’s commitment to brain health. People earned entries into the sweepstakes by downloading Vroom, tweeting about Vroom, and signing up through the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading newsletter.
Over 1,100 entries were recorded, with many Manatee County Government employees among the winners. Gift baskets of books, restaurant gift cards, and Starbuck gift cards were some of the prizes awarded.
Karen Windon, deputy county administrator for Manatee County, shared her perspective:
Vroom is a powerful tool that provides ways to maximize ‘everyday moments.’ The tips are so simple and practical yet they offer meaningful ways to interact with small children. Whether a parent, a grandparent or a neighbor, we each have the ability to share these insights with children. The categories in the app make it easy to find just the right tip for any situation – doesn’t get much easier than that! I also love that Vroom not only provides those tips, but it also provides the ‘why’ of each of the tips. That reinforces to the adult how much impact they can have on brain development and long-term learning.
We felt that implementing a contest with Vroom would encourage our employees and their friends and families to explore and use the app as well as to share their individual successes and tricks to maximize it in a learning community environment.
It was amazing to hear employees sharing their stories – we can all learn so much from each other!
I would love to see EVERY child in Manatee County reading at or above grade level at every step of the learning experience. Reading is fundamental to all that we do and as technology advances having those reading skills are even more critical for life success.
Grade-level reading is an achievable goal if we all work together to maximize the resources of the community – the schools, the libraries, the providers, the technology and the people!
We are surrounded by words and the ability to read and understand them is so empowering. Vroom is one tool in that toolbox, albeit a tremendously effective tool.