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Introducing Ready4K, a Free & Easy Way for Kids to Learn & Grow

Posted: June 29, 2021

Allentown, PA -
Parents throughout Northampton and Lehigh counties can now receive a series of free evidence-based, family engagement text messages that support child development and parental resilience. United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV) in partnership with Resilient Lehigh Valley (RLV) and Lehigh Valley Reads (LV Reads) is launching Ready4K, a public benefits corporation dedicated to creating easy-to-use tools for great parenting to improve the lives of all children. To participate, parents or caregivers in Northampton County should text LEARN to 70138; Lehigh County residents text STRONG to 70138.
 
Ready4K takes an accessible approach to reach and teach parents about topics including mindfulness and mental health, language and literacy, parenting resources, and home and school connections. For three years, participating families with children ages 0-9 will receive up to three text messages each week offering fun tips and easy practices to promote childhood development and additionally, one with parent-specific information or resources. Messages are 160 characters or less, at a 3rd grade reading level and are culturally responsive and available in multiple languages. For families with multiple children, they can receive age-appropriate texts for up to 3 children.
 
“Differences in early learning experiences at home can impact skill development that is critical for success in school and beyond, building barriers to success for some of the Lehigh Valley’s most vulnerable children,” said Akshara Vivekananthan, Assistant Director of Education, UWGLV.  “United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Resilient Lehigh Valley offer Ready4K to bring curriculum and resources to parents looking for new ways to connect with their children.”
 
Two models will be incorporated in our region with 1,000 spots each available in two counties. Northampton County residents will be served messages based on a Core Learning Model that is Head Start and Title 1 aligned. The content will be focused primarily on literacy skills in young learners. Lehigh County resident messaging is rooted in a Trauma Informed Resiliency model. The program targets the five protective factors important to strengthening families and promoting stability while reducing the risk of child neglect: concrete supports in times of need, social connections, parental resilience, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional competence of children. Each text message focuses on awareness, tips, and growth in the factors.
 
“Thanks to our partnership with Ready4K, Resilient Lehigh Valley can directly provide support to parents, regardless of their economic background. Equipping parents with practical tools and resources through convenient text messages opens up new opportunities for them to foster trauma-informed resilience and improve their child’s overall development,” reflected Beth Tomlinson, Senior Director of Education, UWGLV and lead staff for RLV. “We are thrilled to have the chance to direct parents to concrete community programs that will help strengthen relationships with their children.”
 
Funding for Ready4K Trauma-Informed is provided through the Together for Students grant given to LV Reads, a regional literacy campaign powered by UWGLV and PBS39 that is committed to ensuring that all Lehigh Valley students read on grade level at the end of third grade by 2025. This grant funds a more integrated, intentional system for meeting the unique needs of every child to transform how the entire community supports student-centered learning, including trauma-informed initiatives.
 
Space is limited and if a family no longer wishes to participate, they are asked to text STOP to 70138. Doing so will open a spot for another family. More information on Ready4K Trauma-Informed can be found here. More information about additional summer learning opportunities and resources can be found here.