Data shows Kindergarten readiness across BRADD is improving
For about five years United Way of Southern Kentucky has increased efforts to get more children Kindergarten ready and they are seeing their hard work pay off.
Recent data shows more children in the Barren River Area Development district are Kindergarten ready, showing improvement with things like reading, writing, counting, shapes, and colors.
"The way we've done that is we've invested in our community," said Stacey Hughes, the Board Elect for United Way of Southern Kentucky. "One of the major programs is through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library that we are getting books into the hands of children at infancy and they are getting books for their parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles to read to them."
Those with United Way of Southern Kentucky set a goal about five years ago to have South-Central Kentucky at a 75 percent Kindergarten readiness.
Though they are not there yet, officials told 13 News they are proud to say that in 2016 they were at 49 percent and now in 2020 that number is up to 54 percent.
They say any percent increase makes a difference in a child's probability of moving forward with their education.
"Data tells us if a child isn't reading on grade level by third grade that they are four times more likely not to graduate high school, unless they are from a low income household and then they are six times more likely not to graduate high school," said Debbie Hills, President and CEO of United Way of Southern Kentucky.
Officials say the BRADD Kindergarten readiness number of 54 percent is higher than the state number of 51 percent.
Their hope is that these efforts now not only help these children in the future, but help the community as a whole.
"As a way to try to change a generation if you will," said Joe Tinius, Education Committee Chair for United Way of Sothern Kentucky. "To look far beyond the here and now and what can we do to impact the future of children who are right now getting ready to start school and what their life can be like 15, 20, and 30 years from now."
Officials say on the United Way website there are tools to help you gauge if your child is Kindergarten ready.
They recommend clicking the link to a test called 'My Child is Ready' to help you learn what your child can do and what they should be doing.