November 20, 2015 Vroom: Learning to Read Begins at Birth

 

Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a series featuring Vroom.

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a communitywide effort to help children, especially those from low-income families, achieve reading proficiency by the end of third grade.

Learning to read and write doesn’t start in kindergarten or first grade. In fact, new science tells us that children’s first five years are when they develop the foundation for all future learning. Learning to read begins when babies are first able to hear in the womb. Sharing books, singing songs, and talking to one another are important ways children acquire language skills.

When you interact with a child, it’s not just their eyes that light up — it’s their brains. In these moments, half a million neurons fire at once, taking in all the things we say and do.

This early brain development is why Vroom has been created. Science is at the heart of Vroom. Leaders in neuroscience, psychology, behavioral economics, parenting and early childhood development joined together to develop important tools for parents and caregivers.

One of the tools Vroom provides is an app that supports early literacy by turning shared moments among parents and their children into brain-building activities. It translates groundbreaking science into everyday language and pairs it with accessible, actionable tips that encourage back and forth interaction between parents and children. Whether it’s mealtime, bath time or anytime in between, there are always ways to nurture children’s growing minds.

Vroom’s approach is simple: meet parents where they are, in places they already go, through trusted individuals and networks in their lives. The goal is to support parents throughout their daily journey with affirming, reinforcing messages about brain building by taking advantage of the communities parents are already a part of.

Ellen Galinsky, Vroom’s chief science advisor and author of Mind in the Making, helped develop the five Brain Building Basics, which explain the elements of brain building actions in accessible language to help parents turn everyday activities into brain building moments.

The five Brain Building Basics are:

1) Look

Make eye contact so you and your child are looking at each other, or share a focus of attention.

2) Chat

Talk about the things you see, hear, and do together, explaining what’s happening around you.

3) Follow

Take your child’s lead by responding to their sounds and actions, even before they are old enough to talk. When they do start talking, ask follow-up questions like “What do you think?” or “Why did you like that?”

4) Stretch

Make each brain building moment longer by building upon what your child does and says.

5) Take Turns

With sounds, words, faces and actions, go back and forth to create a conversation or a game.

Vroom can help all the parents and caregivers in our regions strengthen their abilities as their child’s first, best teacher.

Look for the next blog in this series: The Vroom Pilot in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.