Pittsfield: Dual literacy programs launch


PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Promise literacy initiative will offer two ways for people to share words with friends this summer.

For the third year, the campaign will utilize businesses, websites, stickers, calendars and posters to promote its "Word of the Day" program. Free copies of the calendar are available at the Berkshire Museum.

Today’s word, by the way, is "adventure."

"The idea is that wherever you go, be it a summer program, the library, a supermarket, you’ll see the Word of the Day and it becomes part of your everyday language," said Craig Langlois, education and public program manager for the Berkshire Museum.

The museum’s executive director, Van Shields, and Berkshire Athenaeum’s director, Ron Latham, head the Partners in Out-of-School-Time initiative to support year-round learning and support for children and families. This includes the Pittsfield Promise program. Each word in the Word of the Day program has been selected by Ron Latham and Kay Latham, reading coordinator for Pittsfield Public Schools.

New this year, Pittsfield Promise has partnered with Project Gutenberg to present a tandem "Book of the Week" campaign. Word of the Day calendars and promotional materials contain a special square barcode, known as a QR code. Scanned with a QR code reader -- which can be downloaded onto a mobile device -- the code will lead users to a free age-appropriate e-book.

"Every week, there will be a new book to read, and there are four age group categories to select from," said Karen Vogel, early childhood coordinator for Berkshire United Way, a lead Pittsfield Promise partner.

Langlois, who will manage the codes and materials, said the e-books will be categorized into four age groups: birth to 3, 4 to 5, 6 to 8, and ages 9 and up.

"Lots of people have access to smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. This way, if you’re in line at the supermarket or in a restaurant waiting for their food, you can scan a code and read a book with your kids."


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