Marshall Williams

Literacy at the Laundromat Could Set Students Up For Success

Organization brings engaging "story time" to a normally monotonous errand.

As far as chores and errands go, few are more boring than sitting at the laundromat. This is especially true if you're a kid dragged along, and are forced to sit there through multiple loads.

Any parent could be forgiven for handing their kid a smartphone or tablet to keep them occupied, but a national organization has launched an initiative to make this downtime more productive and help early childhood literacy.

Image courtesy Too Small to Fail. Marshall Williams

The organization Too Small to Fail is partnering with the Coin Laundry Association (CLA) to provide "story time" at 5,000 laundromats across the country. The goal is to support children's early brain and language development, critical for long-term academic success. According to Too Small to Fail, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills.

Researcher Susan Neuman, a professor of Childhood Education and Literacy Development at New York University, says that children that are unable to read fluently by the time they reach third grade will have "great difficulty" in later grades.

Too Small to Fail tested the efficacy of the program at six locations in New York City, were Volunteer librarians have helped set up story time on the weekends. According to Education Week, parents and educators are already seeing promising early results, and there is hope that the program could help to close the literacy gap between low-income and high-income students .

"We have the right audience, parents and kids who need the most help when it comes to literacy and access to books," Brian Wallace, president and CEO of the Coin Laundry Association, told Education Week. "Rather than watch the socks tumble, use that time and make it more productive."

To learn more about Too Small to Fail, you can click here.

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