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SUNY Canton students advocate reading to children

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CANTON - Students majoring in SUNY Canton’s Early Childhood program are advocating the educational advantages of reading to children beginning at birth. The two-year program recently partnered with Read Aloud 15 Minutes, a non-profit organization committed to making its namesake the new standard for parenting and improving children’s school readiness.

“We are proud to join SUNY in this system-wide effort and national campaign promoting and supporting the Read Aloud 15 Minutes mission,” said Maureen P. Maiocco, SUNY Canton professor and Early Childhood program director.

“The Early Childhood curriculum stresses the importance of early encounters and engagement with books, reading to young children, and how this enhances language development and literacy skills.”

The premise of Read Aloud 15 Minutes is every child should be read to every day, for at least 15 minutes from birth. Reading aloud is the single most important thing a parent or caregiver can do to improve a child’s school readiness. Reading aloud has lasting effects; children will have the literacy skills needed to succeed in school, and more children will be prepared for a productive and meaningful life after school, according to the organization’s website.

In September, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher announced that the university system would be partnering with Read Aloud 15 Minutes. “SUNY’s partnership with Read Aloud will complement our work to mend New York’s education pipeline and ensure that more of today’s youth are on the right path for success throughout school, and ultimately in college and career,” Zimpher said in a press release.

The SUNY Canton Early Childhood program plans to adopt several Read Aloud specific events, beginning with the annual Early Childhood Conference, which provides continuing education opportunities and workshops for early childhood educators, family and group child care providers and parents. The conference will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, at SUNY Canton.

Other initiatives include students offering Read Aloud family story time events throughout the year and creating informational displays to increase awareness and parent participation in the program. The Early Childhood student club is currently planning a book drive campaign to collect high-quality children’s literature. Maiocco said her faculty and students will be working with the Southworth Library Learning Commons to feature favorite children’s books selected by SUNY Canton faculty and staff.

As a partner of Read Aloud 15 Minutes, SUNY Canton will be eligible to display a badge on its website denoting its partnership with the organization.

For more information about the Early Childhood Conference contact Maiocco at maiocco@canton.edu. To become involved with the Read Aloud 15 Minutes Partnership and Campaign, visit www.readaloud.org.

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