The following excerpt is from an article in yesterdays The Ann Arbor News highlighting the No Child Left Behind Early Reading First grant awarded to the University of Michigan:
About 1,000 local pre-schoolers may eventually become better readers, thanks to a $3.1 million federal grant that will place a high priority on literacy. The No Child Left Behind grant is one of two large education grants the University of Michigan has received. The other one - a $3 million state grant - will be used to boost the skills of preschool teachers.
Funding from the No Child Left Behind grant will be used to focus on the language and pre-reading skills of preschoolers in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, said Julie Washington, research associate professor with the University Center for Development of Language and Literacy. Washington will use the grant to collaborate with Ann Arbor's preschool program, Ypsilanti's Head Start and the Oak Park Early Childhood program to develop a curriculum that focuses on language and literacy skills.
What we're doing is taking these classrooms, whether they're full or half days, and infusing them with language throughout the day in every activity, in every way possible, Washington said. The goal, she said, is to transform the classroom by developing excellent preschool classrooms that prepare children for reading.
Early Reading First is President Bush's initiative to improve the school readiness of the country's young children, especially those from low-income families, by supporting early childhood education programs. It built upon the Good Start, Grow Smart initiative to improve early childhood education and strengthen early learning for young children. This year, 32 grants totaling more than $90 million will be awarded.
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