Sealaska Heritage sponsors Baby Raven Reads, an award-winning program that promotes early-literacy, language development and school readiness for Alaska Native families with children up to age 5. The pilot program in Juneau ended in 2017, and SHI received funding to offer the program for another three years and to expand it to nine other communities in Southeast Alaska. Here are a few questions we get frequently and some answers.
Who is eligible for the Baby Raven Reads program?
Alaska Native families with children ages 5 and under or until entering kindergarten living in Juneau, Angoon, Craig, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Petersburg, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell, and Yakutat.
How is Baby Raven Reads different from a book-gifting program?
Baby Raven Reads is an early literacy program that provides family literacy sessions 9 times a year, training for caregivers, and professional development for early childhood educators. Baby Raven Reads, developed with early-childhood specialists, links cultural practices with literacy, language, and developmental practices. Family participants who attend the family literacy sessions regularly will receive age-appropriate and culturally-relevant books with a corresponding home literacy activity 9 times a year.
My family participated in Baby Raven Reads before. Why do I have to enroll again?
Enrollment will take place for each year of the program to ensure participant data is up-to-date and accurate. Enrolling each year will recommit families to the project. Each year some participants may graduate from the program and enter kindergarten, and each year there may be new families eligible for the program.
What are the benefits and expectations for families participating in Baby Raven Reads?
Nine family literacy events—where participants dance, learn developmental activities, hear storytelling, and take part in other activities—will be provided each year, and participating families will be expected to participate in at least six events. Participating families will receive age-appropriate books with literacy activities 9 times per year. Participating families will be expected to participate in feedback and reading-attitude surveys.
How do I enroll for the Baby Raven Reads program?
There is a new online process for families to enroll to ensure complete and accurate information. If parents do not have access to a computer for enrollment they may do so by telephone by contacting the Sealaska Heritage education office 907.586.9219.
How were the Baby Raven Reads communities selected?
Running a program that is as complex as Baby Raven Reads remotely is a large undertaking. For this reason Sealaska Heritage is collaborating with the CCTHITA Head Start program, which serves the following ten communities in Southeast: Juneau, Angoon, Craig, Hoonah, Klawock, Petersburg, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell, and Yakutat. For this first expansion of the program we are limited to running the program in the partner communities.