University of Pittsburgh
September 1, 1999



Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 2 -- A new survey commissioned by Starting Points-Pittsburgh, a Pitt-administered program, shows that one out of three parents questioned admit they don't have as much time to read to their children as they would like.

Guided by this and other survey data, Starting Points-Pittsburgh will launch a multi-year Early Literacy Campaign on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the Homewood Branch of Carnegie Library, at 7101 Hamilton Avenue. Also in attendance will be representatives from the campaign's other partners: Duquesne University, Carnegie Library, Beginning With Books, the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council and the Early Childhood Initiative. Following the presentation, around 2 p.m., children from nearby day care centers will participate in a story hour at the library.

Collaborating with Family Communications, Inc., Starting Points-Pittsburgh is promoting literacy and language growth in children from birth to age 5, with an emphasis on school readiness, by helping parents learn the importance of early verbal stimulation. The first year of the campaign will focus on families in Wilkinsburg, Homewood, the Hill District and Sto-Rox -- providing them with access to literacy support and reading assistance that could make a difference in their children's lives. The campaign will help build coalitions in schools, churches, parent groups, libraries and through university outreach. The goal is to create and implement parent/child literacy opportunities and make literacy a priority in the community.

The effort is being funded by the Howard Heinz Endowments and the Grable Foundation.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: A press kit including the survey results and a campaign overview will be available Sept. 7 at the Homewood Library or by contacting Sharon Blake at (412) 624-4364.