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The Center for Hearing, Speech and Language Is Helping At-risk Children with Reading, Preliteracy and School Readiness

Denver, CO—December 27, 2011— The Center for Hearing, Speech and Language (CHSL) provides a free pre-literacy enrichment program called RISE (Read, Imagine, Share & Explore) by partnering with 14 subsidized childcare/preschool centers. Since 1992, CHSL has been helping to give at-risk toddlers a chance to develop early literacy skills through books, music, art and movement.

Early behaviors and skills associated with successful reading development used to be described as readiness skills, but is now called preliteracy. Language is the foundation of reading development and is strongly tied to a child's growth in reading and writing. Research tells us that without the right stimulation and caring attention in early childhood, children fall behind and may never catch up.  R.I.S.E. focuses on preschool-age children (ages 2 ½ to 5), although siblings do attend at times. These children can be up to 11 years of age. 

“We wish we could reach even more at-risk families than we do,” said Gail Seto who manages the RISE program. “We have support from Target Literacy and Walmart Community Giving grants but there’s a huge need for what we do, and with additional financial support, we could help so many more children succeed in school and ultimately, in life.”

R.I.S.E. objectives are to build vocabulary, pre-reading skills, phonemic awareness and language skills in a fun, participatory environment for children in high-risk populations (low-income, non-English speaking families etc.). R.I.S.E. is designed by early childhood educators, speech/language pathologists and an educational audiologist and is provided on a weekly basis through the extensive use of volunteers.

As research increasingly demonstrates the need for children to be “ready” for kindergarten and to have basic learning foundations in place by that time, the need for RISE early/preliteracy services has grown exponentially.