Literacy makes a major, lifelong difference in health, for reasons easy to grasp. If you can’t read, it will be hard, if not impossible, to learn how to care for your health and make sense of doctors’ and pharmacists’ instructions.
Unfortunately, one in five Americans has low literacy skills, defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “the ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.” The barriers include learning disorders, English as a second language and low-quality schools.
At Nemours Children’s, we’re taking on this national challenge through Reading BrightStart! (NCRBS!). With the vision of helping every child become a reader, NCRBS! specializes in developing products, resources, and services based on research to promote a strong reading foundation for all children. Specifically, this includes unique and highly effective instructional curricula for infants through first grade, teacher training, and a literacy website for families to assist in closing the reading readiness achievement gap for diverse young learners. Developed in 2005 by our neuroscientists, we originally created curricula and resources for kids with dyslexia. As time went on, we realized the curricula is beneficial to all children. Our project has since grown dramatically.