December 19, 2023
Through its “Literacy Lights” initiative, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation partners to provide teachers at Memphis Oral School for the Deaf and Tennessee Schools for the Deaf with books to support vocabulary development for their students, at no cost
Dec. 19, 2023, Memphis, Tenn. — Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation (GELF), whose mission is to strengthen early literacy in Tennessee, partners with Memphis Oral School for the Deaf and Tennessee Schools for the Deaf to provide teachers with books to support their students this holiday season.
Through GELF’s gift, teachers at Memphis Oral School for the Deaf and Tennessee Schools for the Deaf will be able to order 1,200 books to help vocabulary development for their students, at no cost.
A study conducted by the National Science Foundation’s Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning states that supporting children’s sign literacy helps them gain a solid foundation in a language and an advanced diverse vocabulary, which will in turn help them learn to read. With consistent exposure to a sign language and connecting the signs to the printed text, children as young as 3 years old can learn to read. GELF’s Literacy Lights initiative aims to give the gift of reading to communities during the holiday season to help strengthen early literacy for all children.
“Literacy is a human right,” said James Pond, GELF President. “Through the gift of reading, we strive to create a more inclusive literacy environment for all. As someone who faced learning challenges as a child and currently struggles with hearing loss in one ear, the importance of strengthening literacy skills and fostering a love for reading in the process hits close to home. Through this initiative, we encourage Tennesseans to join together as a community and support all families and children in reading together, especially those who experience hardships.”
“We are so thankful to Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation for providing this opportunity to strengthen literacy within our community,” said Andrea Baird, Chief Executive Officer of Memphis Oral School for the Deaf. “We can’t wait to spread the joy of reading with our students and families!”
“Obtaining the funds from Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation for more books in the classroom will mean more opportunities for the children in my classroom to develop basic language skills as well as profoundly expand their vocabularies,” said Nicole Vanaman, teacher at Memphis Oral School for the Deaf. “Whether I am reading to the children, or the children are looking at stories in our reading tent (which they love to do!), the opportunity for more books in the classroom means more chances for overall literacy development.”
One student at Memphis Oral School for the Deaf expressed her excitement for more books, “Come on, let’s read! Baby Santa book! It’s so fun!”
GELF encourages Tennesseans to give the gift of reading this holiday season by donating to their cause. For more information on how to donate, visit GovernorsFoundation.org.