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EWU partners with STA to promote childhood literacy programs

By Dylan Harris, News Editor

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In an effort to promote literacy among children from low-income families, a team of EWU faculty members and students created ELLO, which stands for “Everyday Language and Literacy Opportunities.” ELLO has partnered up with Spokane Transit Authority and displayed their posters inside of bus shelters.

ELLO is a public engagement project that aims to promote language-rich conversations between children and their parents or caregivers. Colorful posters that encourage conversations designed to improve vocabulary have been displayed across various public places, like bus stops and grocery stores, in Cheney, Airway Heights and Spokane.

The project was created by Shanna Davis, an EWU assistant professor of psychology, and Allison Wilson, an EWU assistant professor of early childhood education. Students from EWU’s Visual Communication Design program are responsible for the posters’ artwork.

Our goal is to make community spaces that will be inspiring for parents and kids. Helping kids and families talk to each other a lot is really important”

— Shanna Davis, Assistant Professor of Psychology

“Our goal is to make community spaces that will be inspiring for parents and kids,” Davis said. “Helping kids and families talk to each other a lot is really important.”

The project is intended to improve language skills and improve vocabulary among children from low-income families.  

According to research gathered by Davis and Wilson, less than 50 percent of children from low-income families begin school with the language skills needed to start learning at the appropriate level.

The gathered data also states that by the age of two, there is already a six-month gap in language comprehension between infants from lower-income and higher-income families.

“We know there’s not enough room or enough programs to meet all the needs of kids in that at-risk group,” Davis said.

ELLO has been funded through multiple small grants. Davis hopes that more people will get involved in projects like this one.

“It would be really helpful if it were a community effort to make these spaces, and to make it easier to be a parent,” Davis said.

Right now, there are posters displayed in two Cheney bus shelters. One at the bus stop by the Red Barn and one at the bus stop by Yoke’s.

For more information on ELLO, visit helloello.net.

 

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About the Writer
Dylan Harris, News Editor

Dylan Harris is The Easterner’s news editor. Harris, a senior studying journalism, plans to pursue a career as a news writer after college.

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EWU partners with STA to promote childhood literacy programs