October 30, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
READ from the START, centered on family reading, reached approximately 6600 Missouri parents and children last year, and 40,000 since its inception in 1996. It is successful in both rural and urban settings, and with exceptional and at-risk families. It is based on the conviction that parents are children's first and most influential teachers. Our program offers a small collection of outstanding books appropriate for children from infancy to age five. Each selection appeals to both parent and child with attractive, colorful pictures that enhance an engaging story.

READ from the START is a sequence of group meetings with parents and other care givers, to read and enjoy the books, and to discuss ways that conversation based on stories can stimulate baby's development and the parent/child bond. We discuss book selection, and associating the spoken word with print and image, all important for developing mind of a child.

Wal-Mart launched its literacy program in 2001, and the company has donated more than $16 million to literacy programs in these past years. This month, Wal-Mart also hopes to encourage calls to its national toll-free literacy helpline: 800-929-4458. Operators are on hand to provide callers with the names and phone numbers of local agencies and programs, and assistance is available in both English and Spanish.

Since 1971, the Missouri Humanities Council has provided thousands of programs to help Missourians enjoy a rich cultural life and develop community citizenship. Our mission is to enable families and communities to broaden their appreciation of history, literature, and the ideas that shape our democracy. In addition to READ from the START, our programs include: Chautauqua, community celebration of history; Charettes, consulting for local museums & cultural institutions; Museum on Main Street rural initiative of the Smithsonian Institution; as well as Grants and Initiatives to fund locally generated programs.

To learn more about READ from the START, or other Council activities, please visit our website,

MHC is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Federal agency.