CLEVELAND, Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting Point unveiled its groundbreaking new Read2Me program today with help from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Read2Me aims to help close the gap in boys' reading by bringing male volunteers into early childhood classrooms to read books geared to the interests of three-to-five year-old boys. The Cavs' Scream Team and Mascots Moondog and Sir CC jump-started the program's launch, bringing their boundless energy and entertaining style to the Family Life Child Care Center of Maple Heights, where they read books, played games, danced and interacted with the boys in the classroom.
According to a U.S. Department of Education report, boys are one to one and a half years behind girls in reading on average. Partly this can be traced to differences in male and female brains. The language centers in young girls' brains are more active and develop more quickly than boys'—whose strengths lie in spatial/mechanical brain centers. In traditional early childhood classrooms, the curriculum is geared more to the ways girls learn.
According to Starting Point Executive Director Billie Osborne-Fears, Read2Me has another critical component. "Most early childhood teachers are women. We're bringing men into the classrooms to show boys that men value reading, too. It's not just 'girl stuff.' They read books that appeal to boys—books about animals, planes and superheroes from our library. That gets the boys interested. We're looking for male volunteers who are willing to give a few hours to read to boys in our classrooms."
Read2Me is part of a pilot program initiated by Starting Point to look at new ways to stimulate learning and address the specific needs of boys in early childhood settings, particularly African-American and Hispanic/Latino boys. Early results are promising and indicate that girls also benefit.
Volunteers are needed for Read2Me. Interested men can contact Constance Walker at Starting Point , 216-575-0061, Ext. 360 or [email protected].
Starting Point, a non-profit agency, is Northeast Ohio's child care, early education and out-of-school-time resource and referral agency, serving families, early childhood and youth professionals and communities in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake counties.
The Family Life Child Care Center of Maple Heights is one of five high quality early learning centers operated by Berea Children's Home and Family Services, which offers early childhood, home and community support and out-of-home care services.
SOURCE Starting Point