Of all the professional development programs we’ve delivered, none have been more intensive than our Early Reading First initiatives.
Federally funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Education, Early Reading First sought to transform early-learning programs into high-quality centers of educational excellence. The three awards we have won since 2004 allowed us to work for more than three years with 15 different centers in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls.
Participating teachers and teaching assistants at our ERF sites received up to four credit-bearing courses in early literacy, curriculum and early childhood development. ERF mentors assigned to the centers helped these teachers bring this coursework to life in their classrooms. Our ERF centers also received high-quality books and other materials to help them create a literacy-rich environment in their classrooms.
ERF children outperform peers
With data collected in our first two ERF programs, we showed that children who participated in the program were far more likely to enter kindergarten with grade-level early-literacy skills than those who hadn’t participated in any Ready to Learn program (58% to 29% as measured on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills).
R2LP received its first ERF funding in 2004 to work with Beautiful Beginnings Child Care Center, Cianci Head Start Center, Intown YMCA Kid’s World and the Providence Public School Department’s Leviton Annex. In 2006 we received a second award to work with East Side/Mount Hope YMCA, Federal Hill House Association, Genesis Center, John Hope Settlement House, West End Community Center and the R2LP Classroom at CCRI.
Our third ERF program got under way in 2009 with Heritage Park YMCA Early Learning Center, Pawtucket Day Child Development Center, Progreso Latino, Children’s Friend Child Care Program and Roger Williams Day Care Center. With a no-cost extension granted by the Department of Education, we were able to continue providing courses and other support to educators in these centers for a fourth year. Click here to see a final evaluation of this third ERF program.