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Starting Strong Hosts METRO Bus ‘Read In’ at East End School Festival on April 27 in Portland

PRESS RELEASE — PORTLAND, MAINE (April 17 , 2019) — Starting Strong will host a “read in” for young children on a Greater Portland METRO bus at the 5th Annual Week of the Young Child School Readiness Parade and Festival at East End Community School in Portland on April 27, 2019.

The “read in” at the Week of the Young Child School Readiness Parade and Festival is part of “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing,” a national public awareness campaign of the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail initiative led locally by Starting Strong. As part of the Portland campaign, which kicked off in December 2018, Starting Strong works with over a dozen community partners to display materials and distribute Talking is Teaching kits to families with young children. The kits are designed to help encourage families to use everyday activities as opportunities to talk, read and sing to their young child from birth to age two. Seventy-five kits, which include books, onesies and METRO bus tickets, will be distributed to families at the festival.

As part of the Starting Strong “read in,” a METRO staff member will read aloud from books appropriate for early age children inside one of their buses parked at the East End Community School during the festival. Public service announcements on the outside of the METRO bus are designed to remind families and caregivers about the importance of talking, reading and singing with their young children beginning at birth.

In addition to the “read in”, the festival includes educational resources for families about early learning and how to prepare their children for school. The event will kick off with a parade starting at the East End Beach at 10 am and will proceed with children and families to the East End Community School where there will be a children’s concert, free books, healthy snacks, a photo booth and other events until 12 pm. The first 150 children to register will receive a Starting Strong t-shirt.

About Starting Strong

Starting Strong brings together community partners to ensure children in Portland, Maine read by the end of third grade, a critical benchmark in assuring student success. The focus is on creating opportunities so that all children, from birth through age 8, will be ready for school, reading on grade level and prepared for academic success. Starting Strong is the early age component of Portland ConnectED, a cradle-to-career initiative whose goal is that all young people graduate from high school and successfully transition to their next step.

About Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing

“Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” is a national public awareness and action campaign of Too Small to Fail, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation that empowers parents and caregivers with fun and easy ways to improve their babies’ learning.

Portland, Maine has been recognized by the Clinton Foundation as one of 19 Talking is Teaching communities in the United States. Starting Strong is implementing the Talking is Teaching campaign in Portland, Maine, funded in part by United Way of Greater Portland in support of Goal 1 of Thrive2027, a shared vision with three 10-year goals to improve education, financial stability, and health for every person in Greater Portland.

About Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, promotes the importance of early brain and language development and supports parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community-based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician’s office or the playground,

Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere.