Rebecca Makayi, coordinator of the Children's Room at Learning in Style said, “We realized that when we had story time for the kids, those kids who had been read to at home paid closer attention. Also, the parents’ reading and comprehension dramatically improved, so we started to lend out the very few books we had to adult students to read to their kids. We need more books.”
(Pictures from Learning in Style and of the book, The Story of Tré and Squire)
Rob Rankin, CCF’s President and CEO, was inspired by a speech at the 2016 Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation Conference by George Halvorson, former CEO of HealthPartners and Kaiser Permanente.
“In his (Halvorson’s) keynote speech, he shared a fact that startled me,” Rankin said. “Because the brain of a child is still developing when born, if the brain is not properly stimulated within the first three years of a child’s life, there are parts that will literally never develop. Never. Yet the solution is very simple: Reading, singing and talking to children as soon as they are born and throughout these formative years can pay dividends for their entire lives.”
There are disparities in reading skills linked to both economic status and race. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s policy report, “The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success” notes investing in the first eight years is critical for children to succeed, both in school and in life. Children who are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade are likely to feel alienated from school, and the consequences stretch well into adulthood. Thus it’s of concern that:
- 82 percent of low income fourth graders are not reading proficiently
- Children of color, those with disabilities and dual-language learners have challenges. More than 80 percent of black, Hispanic and American Indian children are not proficient readers by the end of third grade.
- Count to 20 or higher than those who were not (60% vs. 44%)
- Write their own names (54% vs. 40%)
- Read or pretend to read (77% vs. 57%)
(Picture of the book, The Story of Tré and Squire)
“Giving back to the community has been a core principle of CCF’s since our inception 37 years ago,” said Rankin. “And supporting the educational development of children can really impact individuals’ lives and a community’s future.”
The focus of CCF’s pro-bono and charitable efforts center on helping children. Each year CCF donates time to non-profit organizations such the Ann Bancroft Foundation, The Boy Scouts Of America Northern Star Council and the YWCA of Minneapolis. CCF has consistently been recognized by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce for giving at least 5 percent per year of pre-tax