Reading Development

Risk Factors for Reading Problems

Get the facts on risk factors for reading problems to help put all kids on the path to reading success, right from the start.

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Nemours BrightStart! helps parents, educators and health professionals understand key concepts and actions needed to promote reading success for all children through a variety of specific tools, services and resources.

Through our research and evaluations, Nemours BrightStart! contributed to the knowledge, scientific evidence and scholarly resources concerning reading failure in children.

Kennedy's Story

It's hard to believe that only months ago Kennedy was struggling with the ABCs. Her mother, a teacher herself, constantly read stories to Kennedy, but that wasn't enough to help her catch on to important skills she would need to become a successful reader.

Kennedy is not alone. Many children entering kindergarten are already significantly behind in the skills they need for reading success. The achievement gap that plagues our schools exists long before kindergarten.

At Nemours BrightStart!, we see this as an opportunity we cannot resist. Through a Nemours BrightStart! screening, Kennedy was identified as needing intensive assistance to improve her early literacy skills. Along with several
other children at her preschool, Kennedy began working with a Nemours BrightStart! teacher.

To Kennedy's mom, the results were amazing. She states, "By the end of her nine-week lessons, Kennedy not only knew her ABCs, but she had begun to read at a 'better than average' level for her age group."

As such a poised reader, Kennedy was selected as the "official reader" for her preschool graduation — an honor bestowed upon only one pre-school graduate each year. She proudly read the story, Tip, as her parents beamed from
the audience.

For both Kennedy and her mom, Nemours BrightStart! has been priceless. Now confident in her beginning reading abilities, Kennedy is not only excited, but also ready to begin kindergarten in the fall.

What Parents Are Saying

Working together, we can fulfill our promise to help every child discover the joy of reading. Here is a sampling of what parents are saying about Nemours BrightStart!:

"My 4-year-old daughter and I read together almost daily. I make funny faces and create voices to enhance the story's character. I also allow my daughter to try to read the pictures and certain recognizable words back to me. I've even had her read grocery store ads to me and was amazed when she articulated certain products and their cost. Her vocabulary has increased tremendously. I often catch her trying to read alone. I love it!"

Samerica Doles, after using
Nemours BrightStart! tools and resources

"The Nemours BrightStart! program is nothing short of a miracle.
The progress my daughter has achieved in the last three to four months is incredible. It's like she woke up to the fun world of letters, numbers, and reading."

Parent of Nemours BrightStart!
participating student, Duval County, Fla.

"Ms. Denise:
Thanks a lot for all your help.
My son Andre has improved tremendously.
I appreciate your support. God bless you!"

A note from a parent given to a
Nemours BrightStart!-trained teacher


What Educators Are Saying

Working together, we can free children from the disabling effects of reading failure. Here is a sampling of what educators are saying about Nemours BrightStart!:

“Early in the year one of my students was so shy and withdrawn in the classroom that he would stiffen his body when approached or spoken to by a classmate or teacher. He refused to participate or interact with anyone. One day after returning to the classroom following a Nemours BrightStart! lesson, the student gave me a big unexpected hug, pointed to his letter bracelet, and said, ‘I know what this letter is! It's a C and it says /c/!’ It was a turning point for this child, and he has been an active learner since that day.”

Ms. Bass, a VPK teacher

"Nemours BrightStart! is such a positive experience that when I walk into a classroom, my Nemours BrightStart! students are excited to come to the group. The children who are not receiving Nemours BrightStart! instruction continually ask me, ‘When is it my turn? Are you taking me today?’ I plan to take a day to invite these children to a small group to sample a taste of Nemours BrightStart!

Nemours BrightStart!-trained educator

"After completing just one series of Nemours BrightStart! lessons, the children have shown impressive academic gains. But just as important are the positive changes in their level of confidence and attitude toward learning. Children who were hesitant to respond and participate in their classroom setting gained the confidence to answer questions and interact with their Nemours BrightStart! buddies. The Nemours BrightStart! small group is a safe, secure atmosphere to learn, and the strategies are designed for the children to experience success. It was heartwarming to hear the children say encouraging words to each other such as ‘kiss your brain,’ ‘slam dunk,’ and ‘you did it.’”

Nemours BrightStart!-trained educator

"One student in particular had difficulty attending to the activities during the earlier lessons. But once he started experiencing success, he became more attentive and cooperative. In fact, he became such a proficient syllable clapper in his group, that he would offer his help to other students by holding their hands to clap and saying,
‘You're doing it!’”

Bonnie Post, Prekindergarten Specialist,
School District of Osceola County, Fla.

We'd Love to Hear Your Feedback!

We appreciate your participation in the Nemours BrightStart! Health Care Professional's Toolkit for Ready Readers pilot program. At the end of the six-week pilot test, we ask that you take a moment to fill out this brief survey regarding your experience using the toolkit and resources. Complete the survey online or print a hard copy, which you cand send via fax to
(904) 697-3172.

What Researchers Are Saying

Nemours BrightStart! contributes to the knowledge, scientific evidence and scholarly resources concerning reading failure in children. Here is a sampling of what researchers are saying about Nemours BrightStart!:

“Nemours BrightStart! provides a tremendous service to the local community through successful screening and early intervention services targeting the promotion of early literacy skills. This work is extremely important given the close correspondence known to exist between the development of early literacy skills and later achievement.

"Unique, however, among early intervention services is the enormous contribution Nemours BrightStart! is making to the research literature through the program’s rigorous evaluation of intervention effectiveness. Their initial evaluation of the program’s effectiveness has yielded very promising results showing a difference in reading readiness skills of over 100 percentage points between participants and non-participants. Consider that the average improvement reported by programs evaluated by the WhatWorks Clearinghouse ranges from 1-36 percentage points.

"Through Nemours BrightStart!’s carefully conducted research, including experimental and longitudinal research designs, researchers are contributing at the national level to our understanding of best practices in early intervention. I am thrilled to be able to collaborate with this innovative team of experts. Our collaborative efforts focus on better understanding factors related to treatment response among program participants. We would like to better understand why some children who were identified through screening procedures make greater gains as a result of the Nemours BrightStart! intervention than others. Through this work we will be able to further enhance program efficacy and better serve all children and families.”

Marika Ginsburg-Block, PhD,
Program Coordinator and Associate Professor of Education,
School Psychology Program, University of Delaware