United Way Launches 'Ready, Set, Let’s Read' in Danbury Preschools

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Maryellen Baker of Ridgefield, a volunteer with United Way’s Ready, Set, Let’s Read! program, reads to preschool children at Head Start of Northern Fairfield County.
Maryellen Baker of Ridgefield, a volunteer with United Way’s Ready, Set, Let’s Read! program, reads to preschool children at Head Start of Northern Fairfield County. Photo Credit: Contributed

DANBURY, Conn. -- Danbury preschoolers will be taking part in "Ready, Set, Let's Read!" a program of United Way of Western Connecticut.

The early childhood education initiative places volunteers in preschool classrooms serving disadvantaged children to read each week, representatives said. The United Way has 20 community volunteers in 16 preschool classrooms at two Danbury preschools, Head Start of Northern Fairfield County and The Salvation Army’s The Right Place School Readiness Center. It has screened, trained and matched volunteers to the classrooms. 

“We are proud to have partnered with the United Way on their inaugural Ready, Set, Let's Read! program,” said Monica Bevilacqua, director of Head Start of Northern Fairfield County. “The children, the volunteer readers, and staff have really enjoyed the time spent in their classrooms.

"Most importantly, the staff have been gratified to know that the community is invested in the Head Start of Northern Fairfield County program, and the children were delighted to expand their love of reading. The volunteers were wonderful.”

The United Way recently hosted a book presentation to Danbury children enrolled in the Head Start program in honor of its program and volunteers read a book to the class and presented each child with his or her own copy of the book to take home.

“It was amazing to see the children immediately open the books and begin identifying pictures they remembered from the story,” said Deirdra Wallin, volunteer mobilization coordinator for UWWC. “Books are so important in the development of early literacy skills. We are grateful for the book donations from the Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive and from Kohl’s Cares distributed today to Head Start children.”

United Way’s Ready, Set, Let’s Read! program supports preschools serving disadvantaged children in preparing them for kindergarten by placing volunteers in their classrooms each week to read books with the children. 

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