Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 9:57 pm | Fair 63º


Capps Reads to Children at Los Niños Head Start in Santa Barbara

Rep. Lois Capps reads to children during a visit Friday to the Los Niños Head Start in Santa Barbara in honor of the 50th anniversary of Head Start.
Rep. Lois Capps reads to children during a visit Friday to the Los Niños Head Start in Santa Barbara in honor of the 50th anniversary of Head Start. (Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County photo)

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, visited CAC Los Niños Head Start in Santa Barbara on Friday in honor of the 50th anniversary of Head Start.

Capps read to the children to show her support for closing the word gap for vulnerable children as part of the nationwide Every Word Counts: Head Start and Congress Read Together event.

Volunteers, parents, staff and community partners were on hand to answer questions and share personal stories about the impact of the program.

“Thanks to Head Start I’ve been able to spend more time with my daughter and she is learning so much here,” Head Start parent Rebecca De La Torre said.

Most children need to hear a word at least seven times to learn it. By age 5, children from a “professional” home hear 11 million words, whereas children from a home receiving welfare hear only 3 million words. This “achievement gap,” now sometimes called the “opportunity gap,” starts before children enter kindergarten. Good preschools are shown to have dramatic benefits for children.

“Head Start supports parents as the first teachers of their children by sharing information, encouragement and resources for reading in the home and having language-building conversations with children,” said Mattie Gadsby, CAC children’s services director. “Preschools provide language and print rich environments, with books available on open shelves that invite children to explore reading.”

— Holly Carmody is the central administrative services director for the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County.

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