LivelyLetters1Citizens Inn has joined forces with Pathways for Children to fund a literacy program, Lively Letters, at the Welch School in Peabody.

Pathways for Children, a leading provider of early education and care on the North Shore serving over 500 children, operates a Head Start preschool classroom at the Welch School in Peabody. With Kindergarten readiness and literacy as one of the cornerstones of Head Start, Pathways is working to incorporate the Lively Letters program into their curriculum by securing community partners to help fund the materials and training necessary for this nationally recognized program.

Corey Jackson, Executive Director of Citizens Inn, was introduced to Pathways for Children at a recent Rotary Club of Peabody breakfast, where Pathways was the guest speaker. Pathways’ shared their excitement about the successes they were having partnering with local organizations to bring Lively Letters into to their classrooms to enhance the learning experience for children, 2.9-5 years old, during this critical developmental stage.

“As soon as I heard it, I knew this was something we should be a part of,” Jackson said. “Many of the kids from Citizens Inn are able to take advantage of this program. It was a natural thing to support. Rather than buy it and provide it in shelter, we felt strongly about letting the experts teach it in the classroom.”

Literacy is crucial at this stage for kids. Research shows and United Way points out that children who enter school ready to learn are more likely to achieve early reading proficiency by third grade and graduate high school on time. Lively Letters is designed to dramatically improve students’ reading and spelling skills in a way that’s fun and entertaining.

“The best part is that throughout the day as they look at the print around the room they are able to point out individual letters and sounds,” added Julie Sullivan, the Pathways Teacher at the Welch School. “As they continue learning more letters and sounds, our plan is to have them begin sounding out words. Lively Letters has been an excellent tool for getting our older students ready for kindergarten while our youngest develop important pre-reading skills.”

Jackson was able to stop by the classroom at the Welch School to see the kids in action. Lively Letters was first introduced into the Peabody classroom in mid-December and the children have already learned so much in the short amount of time.

Citizens Inn and Pathways both focus on strengthening the family unit and emphasize the importance of breaking the patterns of instability at a very early age.

“It was amazing to see how excited these kids were to learn,” noted Jackson, who was able to visit the Pathways classroom at the Welch School. “As soon as they heard the introduction music to Lively Letters, they started singing and running to the circle. If this tool can make these children excited about learning, then it’s a phenomenal investment.”