Project: Early Language & Literacy for Alaska Native Children in Anchorage
Grantee: Best Beginnings
Story by: Amie Collins

Kindergarten readiness starts with reading. Research shows that children who have access to book and are read to from birth will have greater academic success. Best Beginnings is partnering with numerous organizations to improve the likelihood of success in kindergarten for Alaska Native children living in Anchorage.

With funding support from The CIRI Foundation, Best Beginnings was able to work with Alaska Native Medical Center, the Nutaqsiivik Nurse-Family Partnership, Cook Inlet Native Head Start and Clare Swan Early Head Start to enroll children in the Anchorage Imagination Library. The Anchorage Imagination Library is a program of Best Beginnings that delivers high quality, age-appropriate books to a child in their home each month from birth to age 5.

Reading together for just thirty minutes a day can have a lasting impact not just on the literacy skills of a child, but on the quality of the parent/child relationship. Surveys given to parents of the children we were able to enroll with this funding show that an overwhelming majority of parents have increased the amount of time they spend reading with their child and are growing closer together as a family because of their participation in Imagination Library.

In addition to receiving books, parents can access a wide variety of early learning activities and resources to help their child’s literacy and language skills grow through Best Beginnings’ newly-designed website.

By listening carefully to what information parents need and meeting them where they are – be it at a free family engagement event, in an email, on our website, Facebook, or in their own home, the work of Imagination Library and Best Beginnings is making a great difference in the lives and future educational outcomes of Alaska Native children.