RED AHEAD (Read Every Day to get Ahead)
RED Ahead provides parents information and activities to help their young children develop the language skills they need to be ready for kindergarten. Currently offered at the Urban and North Towne WIC clinics (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), the program is a collaboration between United Way of East Central Iowa and Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP).
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Families meet with an Early Literacy Specialist during their WIC visits to learn the next steps in their child’s development. At meetings, families receive educational materials, age appropriate books, and activities that promote their child’s early language and literacy skills.
Twice a year, families are provided the opportunity to complete a developmental screening for their child. Utilizing the Ages and Stages screening enables parents to ensure their child is on track developmentally and receive support for areas of potential concern.
RED Ahead began in September 2011 and continues to enroll Urban and North Towne WIC clients who have a baby under one year old, and clients who are in their third trimester of pregnancy. Families remain enrolled in RED Ahead until their child turns five.
As of June 30, 2014, RED Ahead had 1,347 families active in the program. Between July 31, 2013 and June 30, 2014, 5,539 age-appropriate books were given to children.
Parents Surveyed Results
98% feel more prepared to support [their] child’s language development and pre-reading skills
97% practiced skills learned at RED Ahead at home
100% practiced additional activities with children
Children receiving multiple developmental screenings
98% maintained or improved language and early literacy skills
95% maintained or improved cognitive skills
95% maintained or improved social-emotional skills