Entering kindergarten ready to learn helps put children on the path to success in school and in life. To ensure that families have the tools they need to prepare children for school, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will assemble and distribute Kindergarten Readiness bags to all incoming kindergartners in Sarasota County.
School readiness is one of the key solution areas of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading because early learning directly influences a child’s ability to succeed in school. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, through funding from The Patterson Foundation, Sarasota County Rotary Clubs and The Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, is creating and distributing 2,850 Kindergarten Readiness bags in Sarasota County. Additional bags will be provided to students in DeSoto County with support from the School District of DeSoto County.
“Research tells us that academic achievement increases when parents are engaged in their children’s education,” said Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for The Patterson Foundation. “The Kindergarten Readiness bags include many great tools parents and children can share together. By using the resources provided in the bags, parents can create fun learning experiences for their children and help prepare them for school.”
Each Kindergarten Readiness bag contains learning tools, including books, flashcards, and alphabet letters, along with a Kindergarten Readiness parent guide explaining how to use the tools to practice critical school-readiness skills. To teach children about water safety, Sarasota County Rotary Clubs are providing copies of “Josh the Baby Otter” for each Kindergarten Readiness bag. The book was created to help children comprehend and remember the importance of being safe around bodies of water.
“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.”
Kindergarten Readiness bags will be distributed at Kindergarten Round-Ups throughout Sarasota County beginning Feb. 1. At each round-up, teachers will demonstrate how each item in the bag can be used to practice essential kindergarten readiness skills.