Lockmiller Child Development Center to Participate in Literacy Buddy Program
Each year, our very own Lockmiller Child Development Center participates in the Literacy Buddy Program sponsored by the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida. The children at the center love to receive books from their literacy buddies. Students, Faculty and Staff are able to become a Literacy Buddy Volunteer.
More about the Literacy Buddy Program:
The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida will commence the Literacy Buddy Program for 3-5 year olds in child care programs in Lee, Collier, Hendry, and Glades Counties. This will be the fourth year the Coalition has implemented the Literacy Buddy Program. Last year they matched 1,348 children with a volunteer who agrees to receive a letter from a child. In turn the volunteer answers the child’s letter and purchases a book for the child based on the child’s interest noted in the letter. The letters and books are mailed to the child at his/her school. This exchange takes place three times during the school year. The beauty of the Literacy Buddy Program is it takes very little time from the volunteer and can be done from anywhere. In fact, they have Literacy Buddy volunteers from 20 different states, Canada, and a soldier stationed in Japan. Many of the Literacy Buddies are winter residents. They start the program in September from their northern home and continue while in Florida.
In a nutshell, the purpose of the program is to help put books in the hands of children who may not have books in their homes or adults that read to them; to help children develop early writing skills; and to help parents understand the importance of reading aloud to their child. At this age children are just beginning the writing process. Their “letters” contain pictures and scribbles and are usually scribed by their teacher. As the year progresses volunteers actually see the learning take place. The Literacy Buddy Program helps lay the foundation for early literacy skills and ultimately, success in school.
The Early Learning Coalition currently has 630 volunteers. They would like to have that many more by September. Applications can be downloaded from their website at www.elcofswfl.org. High school and college students can earn community service credits by being a Literacy Buddy.