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Smart Start and United Way partner on early literacy


A’Janae Alexander and Jada Henry, with Amy Brown, explore books donated for the Stories and Smiles Dental and Literacy Clinic. Photo by Susan Shinn, for the Salisbury Post.

By Amy Brown

Smart Start Rowan

For over two decades, Smart Start Rowan has served young children and their families, to ensure that children enter school healthy and ready for success. One key component of Smart Start Rowan’s work is promoting early literacy programs that develop a love of reading in young children and educate parents on the importance of reading to their children.

Through its partnership with the Rowan County United Way, Smart Start Rowan is able to provide Reach Out and Read, a nationwide evidence-based program with exceptional literacy outcomes, to over 70 percent of children birth-to-age 5 in Rowan County. At local medical practices and the Health Department, children receive a book and a “prescription to read” from a medical professional during each well child visit.

This “prescription to read” includes advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud to their children. For more information about Reach Out & Read, visit www.reachoutandread.org.

The following success story by Dr. Chris Magryta of Salisbury Pediatrics is a wonderful illustration of the impact Reach Out and Read makes:

“Reach Out and Read is the primary source of early reading material for many children in Rowan County. This is an invaluable tool to promote literacy which is highly correlated with societal success. The children of this county are very blessed to have this resource.”

Without the support of the Rowan County United Way, Smart Start Rowan would not have the opportunity to provide this invaluable resource that Dr. Magryta spoke about, to so many children and families.

The early literacy partnership between Smart Start and the United Way is vitally important. The early years are the time when a child’s brain architecture is formed, creating the foundation for kindergarten readiness and for future learning and success.

With the next Rowan County United Way campaign right around the corner, you can feel confident in your decision to join this partnership, as your contribution will definitely make a meaningful, lasting impact right here in our local community.

To learn more about the Rowan County United Way, visit www.rowanunitedway.org. To learn more about Smart Start Rowan, and to view a video that displays our Reach Out and Read work in action, visit www.rowan-smartstart.org.

Amy Brown is executive director of Smart Start Rowan, a Rowan County United Way member agency.



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