Jamie Hobson and Eloise Lynton of Los Angeles, Calif., have worked for more than a year to create The Book in a Bag program at Westside Children’s Center, a local head start that provides a wide-range of services to more than 100 low-income families. The program was designed to address the literacy gap in this disadvantaged community by fostering fine and gross motor control, social awareness, sequencing skills, visual perception, beginning math, color and shape recognition, speech and auditory skills, letter recognition and dramatic play all in a fun environment.
The Book in a Bag program trains each of their volunteers to be teachers using specialized reading packets that include a book, lesson plan and an extension activity based on age-appropriate developmental goals. Additionally, the program provides a vital opportunity for the volunteers to build a one-on-one relationship with a child at the center.
Jamie and Eloise’s program addresses a critical national issue. Research shows that children who enter kindergarten behind their peers will most likely never catch up and are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years. Low literacy in children is associated with school failure, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency and poverty. This program is one that can be duplicated in any community, and these high school juniors plan to create a Book in a Bag website to enable easy access to their lesson plans and activity resources. Such a grass roots effort could make a substantial difference in America’s literacy rate.
Their devotion to their community and the larger movement of improving literacy in our next generation is what makes them Daily Points of Light.