IICF Teams Up With Sesame Street to Promote Early Childhood Literacy

October 11, 2013

Research shows that prior to starting school, children from high-income families benefit from 400 hours more literacy-related activities than children from low-income families. Furthermore, by age four, a high-income child is exposed to 35 million more words than a low-income child.

In response to the wide gap in literacy rates that prevails between children of high and low-income families, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, has partnered with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) to launch a multimedia literacy program called Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day.

The program will leverage the power of beloved Sesame Street characters to reach and motivate young children and families to make the most of everyday opportunities to talk, read, and write together.


The new digital resource includes tips, games, and activities that parents, caregivers, and volunteers can engage children with to improve their reading and writing capabilities from an early age. The resources were unveiled today at the New York City Public Library and are available, for free, to parents across the country at www.sesamestreet.org/literacy. All materials are available at no cost in both English and Spanish.
Sesame Workshop
The New York City Public Library will promote the launch, highlight the program and provide the new materials to its members throughout its 80 branches.

In concert with the united insurance community, the IICF and Sesame Workshop will be promoting Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day at events nationwide and will be working to reach as many families and volunteers as possible through both local and national programming.

The project aims to:

• Help parents and caregivers realize the important role they play in creating the foundation for literacy in their children.

• Provide volunteers with engaging, fun-filled, and educational resources that they can use to positively impact the literacy development of underserved children across the United States.

• Present children with games and activities that will stimulate their interest in talking, reading, and writing from an early age.

“From the very beginning, Sesame Street has promoted the importance of early-childhood education. However, children from low-income families do not have access to the same educational opportunities as children from high-income families,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for community and family engagement at Sesame Workshop at Sesame Workshop.

“With support from IICF, we are excited to bring Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day to young children. Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day will provide families, parents, caregivers, and volunteers with materials that draw from everyday life, thus giving adults an easy way to implement literacy into their daily interactions with children.”

The program includes:

• Video segments that draw from everyday life and model ways for parents to easily engage their children in activities around vocabulary, reading, and writing.

• Materials volunteers can use to plan fun-filled literacy-based experiences for children and families.

• A parent/caregiver guide bursting with information and activities to encourage literacy development for children ages two to five. The guide also includes additional material that parents can use to help form the building blocks for literacy in children ages zero to two.

• A new mobile site with videos, games, and activities for parents and volunteers to enjoy with children on-the-go, as well as an online section dedicated to Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day on sesamestreet.org.

“Together with our insurance industry partners we are proud to collaborate with Sesame Workshop on such an important initiative that will positively impact thousands of children in the communities where we live, work and serve,” said Bill Ross, chief executive officer for IICF.

“The IICF and insurance industry are committed to improving early childhood literacy rates across America, but we know change will not happen overnight,” Ross said. “This is why we felt it was so important to make a long-term, active commitment to Every Day is a Reading and Writing Day, where we support and sponsor Sesame Workshop, but more importantly, engage the nationwide network of insurance professionals across the country to serve as advocates, stewards and volunteers for this wonderful program.”

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation was established in 1994 and is completely directed and funded by the insurance industry. The foundation helps communities and enriches lives by uniting the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service and leadership. Since its inception in 1994, IICF has contributed more than $20 million in grants to charities and 166,000 volunteer hours to hundreds of community nonprofit organizations. IICF is a registered not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

Source: The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation

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