State PTA, United Way Team Up to Offer Early Literacy Program

The New York State PTA and the United Way of Westchester and Putnam have partnered with Learning Ovations, an Irvine, Calif.-based early literacy support company, to launch a statewide program that encourages reading skills development at home.

Reading Checkup is designed for children in grades K-3. The program allows a child to complete two online quizzes, then parents and caretakers receive evidence-based recommendations for specific reading skills to focus on at home, while choosing from targeted activities that meet the child’s needs.

“(The) New York State PTA is committed to supporting all children…and we know that literacy continues to be the key to student success,” said state PTA President Dana Platin. “We are thrilled to work with United Way of Westchester/Putnam and Learning Ovations to bring this family-based literacy program into every New York State home.”

Representatives from the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, local PTAs and elected officials
Representatives from the United Way of Westchester and Putnam and local PTAs along with elected officials announced a partnership with a California-based company to start a statewide early literacy program called Reading Checkup.

Reading Checkup uses breakthrough applications to provide students with reading instruction customized to their individual needs. Backed by almost 20 years of research funded by the U.S. Department of Education and The National Institutes of Health, Learning Ovation’s early literacy school-based program, called A2i, has 90 percent of participating students reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade.

“Our research shows that there are two critical elements in supporting a child’s reading development: you must know what their individual instructional needs are and then precisely match the type of instruction and the time spent to those needs,” said Jay Connor, CEO and founder of Learning Ovations.

“For this age group, having parents or caregivers actively engaged in supporting their child is powerful,” Connor added. “So much better than just plopping them in front of a screen. And Reading Checkup makes it fun for both – shared activities and a shared sense of accomplishment.”

The year-long literacy program costs $16 per child throughout the partnership. Scholarships will also be available to cover program costs for high-need families. The program is offered in both English and Spanish.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed and helping them to read on grade level by the end of the third grade puts them on the right track,” said Tom Gabriel, CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “By working with New York State PTA and Learning Ovations we are able to offer a resource to help children continue learning outside of the traditional classroom setting.”

This program will join the state PTA’s current literacy programs, including the statewide and longstanding Pick a Reading Partner Program (formerly Parents as Reading Partners).

Families interested in Reading Checkup can sign up directly on the new state PTA Reading Checkup web page at https://nyspta.org/learning-ovations-reading-checkup/.

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