Giving Young Children a Head Start
Literacy is fundamental to a successful, productive life. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the tools and resources they need to develop satisfactory literacy skills. Today there are 36 million adults living in the U.S. who read at or below third grade level. And without basic reading or writing skills, these individuals are struggling to find jobs, stay healthy, and support their families.
Dr. Gladys Felix, a practicing pediatrician and former Kaiser Permanente Community Medicine Fellow, recognized that language delay was a challenge many of her young patients were facing, and their parents were not well-equipped to help their children gain the skills they need.
As a result of her Community Medicine Fellowship, Dr. Felix was able to leverage the resources provided by Kaiser Permanente to establish Hablamos Juntos, a language development program for Spanish-speaking families. “When children are delayed, they have poor school readiness,” she explains. “When they’re not ready in preschool, and they’re not ready in Kindergarten, sometimes they don’t catch up to their peers. So I want[ed] to do something about it.”
Hablamos Juntos teaches parents skills they can use at home to stimulate their own children’s language throughout the day during routine activities, thus empowering parents to become their child’s first teacher. To date, the program has helped 80 children gain the skills they need to be successful in school.