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Beginning with Books benefits from state grant facilitated Sen. Fontana


September 12, 2006

State Senator Wayne D. Fontana recently presented a $10,000 state grant to the non-profit Beginning with Books organization.

“Literacy is the key component to educational success and a good future,” Fontana said. “Investing in a child's ability to read empowers and enlightens that child.”

Senator Fontana presented the grant at the Seton Center Child Care Center in Brookline to the Beginning with Books organization. Founded in 1984, the group advocates early literacy to make a difference in the lives of children, especially those at greatest risk.

The Brookline lawmaker said the grant would be used to expand the “Storymobile program,” which visits public housing and child care settings for low-income families in the greater Pittsburgh region. Children may borrow from a large selection of age-appropriate, high quality books.

According to Senator Fontana, children who have been read to from a very young age have heard more than 30 million words by age three and have a vocabulary of up to 20,000 words by age six, giving them a significant head start upon entering school.

He said that encouraging reading in children from low-income families is vitally important as those students typically enter school a full year and a half behind their middle class peers in language ability. The average middle-class first grader has been read to an average of 1,250 hours while children from low-income families average a mere 25 hours.

“The ability to read and academic success go hand in hand,” Senator Fontana said. “We must do all we can to instill this important tool in each of our children.” 


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