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Tremaine Foundation
Stern Center for Language and Learning

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About BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY®

BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® promotes early literacy skills for children in child care and preschool environments. Developed in 1997 at the Stern Center for Language and Learning, a nonprofit learning center dedicated to helping children and adults reach their full potential, the program teaches early care and education providers as well as parents and preschool teachers how to foster early literacy skills in children. The program has been developed and supported through the generosity of the Turrell Fund, the A.D. Henderson Foundation, the Permanent Fund, the Windham Foundation, the Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation and the Newman’s Own Foundation.

BUILDING BLOCKS® began as a live 12-hour workshop for early childcare providers. The Stern Center developed this BUILDING BLOCKS website thanks to invitational funding from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation: "This was too good to just keep in Vermont." (Stewart Hudson, Executive Director)

This website includes:

  • 12 Professional Development Hours
  • An interactive activity and video Family Forum

More than 1,000 professionals in Vermont have completed BUILDING BLOCKS, impacting more than 20,000 preschoolers. BUILDING BLOCKS offers research-based strategies derived from recommendations of the National Research Council (1998) and National Early Literacy Panel (2009) into preschool and childcare settings:

  • Phonological awareness (breaking spoken language into its smallest parts)
  • Language development including vocabulary
  • Shared book reading
  • Speech-to-print connection, including alphabet knowledge and early writing

BUILDING BLOCKS research to assess the impact of this professional development program on children's readiness for reading yielded remarkable and heartening results:

  • Children in both experimental and control groups made significant pre-literacy gains.
  • Children whose providers participated in BUILDING BLOCKS made significantly greater pre-literacy gains than children in the control group.
  • Most compelling, after intervention by trained early care and education professionals applying BUILDING BLOCKS, a significantly greater number of children rose from an at-risk literacy level to above an at-risk literacy level.

Increasing the knowledge of early care and education providers helps decrease reading failure when children enter school!

View the BUILDING BLOCKS Activity Guide.

The Stern Center for Language and Learning is a nonprofit learning center dedicated to helping children and adults reach their full potential. Through high-quality direct service, professional learning, and research, we are committed to enriching the lives of learners because all great minds don't think alike. Learn more about the Stern Center.

BUILDING BLOCKS is adapted for early care and education providers from MAP/TIME.

Sponsored By:

  • Stern Center
  • Stern Center
  • Stern Center
  • Stern Center
  • Stern Center
  • Stern Center