Fort Collins Read Aloud, a nonprofit organization founded in 1990 by two Colorado State University professors to address the literacy needs of children then participating in Head Start, continues with the original mission to "encourage, educate, and empower the communities of Larimer County with the tools necessary to ensure lifetime literacy for children".
FCRA provides baby board books and preschool books written in English and in Spanish to give to participating parents in programs designed to educate and engage parents around the topics of language development in their young children, ages zero to three years, with a particular focus on how reading aloud can build that language.
Our programs include:
1. Harmony Mobile Home Park is coordinated by FCRA with the support of Linton Elementary community liaison. FCRA sponsors summer literacy evenings at the Harmony Park, as well. Books, new and donated, at all levels, in English and in Spanish, are distributed to students and their families.
2. Best Start for Babies and Toddlers is an outreach of the United Way of Weld County. FCRA targets the language development of young children based on current research which highlights the enormous benefits for building language in babies, zero to age three, and recognizes that parents are their child's first and best teachers.
3. FCRA distributes books, new and donated, at all levels, in English and Spanish, to families at the quarterly Children in Need events, sponsored by the Homeward Alliance, formerly known as Homeless Gear.
4. FCRA also provides books requested by English Language Development teachers at Johnson Elementary, Webber Middle and Bacon Elementary schools. These titles are chosen for students with whom the teachers work in order to provide more access to reading aloud at home.
5. FCRA volunteers, who read aloud to students in Kindergarten- 3rd grade Poudre School District classrooms, request books for "their" students; those books are purchased at the end of the school year and are sent directly to the volunteer to give to his/her students.
The grant funds (generously set at $1500) will go entirely to buying new books. Books will be distributed throughout the school year to the families, parents, students, teachers and volunteers mentioned above. This budget will serve approximately 300 children with new books.
Rotary Club members are FCRA volunteers in elementary schools now, reading aloud to students. FCRA welcomes more club members to volunteer. Club members are also very welcome at the Children in Need events to help pass out books. The next Children in Need event is December 1 at the Aztlan Center.