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Dialogic Reading is Invaluable for Young Children and Adults

Updated: May 21, 2021

A Kansas Literacy Festival Partner Spotlight:

Fundamental Learning Center's virtual workshop highlights fun, effective way to develop children's language skills.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

In the months leading up to our Kansas Literacy Festival this September, Storytime Village is excited to spotlight the incredibly talented individuals and organizations who have partnered with us to host literacy programming across the state of Kansas.

This spotlight features the Fundamental Learning Center and their workshop that covers reading aloud to young children.

The Inspiration Behind the Project

At the Fundamental Learning Center, staff members recognize the importance of children becoming proficient in reading. By the time children reach fourth grade, they are expected to read to learn, and they continue to fall behind in school if their reading level is not adequate. However, 66% of children in Kansas fail to learn to read proficiently by that age.

The Fundamental Learning Center hopes to change that. For over 20 years, the staff members have helped children learn to read, write, and spell, focusing on children with dyslexia and other reading delays. The organization also teaches parents and educators to recognize and remediate children with dyslexia through its research-informed literacy programs.

“We all have a responsibility to do what we can to improve this life-threatening set of circumstances,” said Co-Founder and Executive Director Jeanine Phillips. “Too many children are growing up low literate…therefore falling well below their intellectual and societal capability.”

The Festival Project: Reading Aloud to Young Children, An Essential Skill

The Fundamental Learning Center decided to partner with Storytime Village’s Kansas Literary Festival because of their shared desire to increase literacy among children. They also recognize the importance of reading aloud to young children.

For the festival, the organization recorded a one-hour workshop geared toward parents and teachers of three- to six-year-old children. In this “critical” virtual session, speaker Tammy Kofford emphasizes the importance of dialogic reading. Studied by researcher Dr. Grover J. (Russ) Whitehurst, dialogic reading, or speaking with a child while reading together, helps quickly develop crucial language skills. These skills enable children to learn from the nuances of listening as well as from language in narrative books. The process of dialogic reading benefits adults as well.

“For years research has emphasized the importance of reading aloud to children,” said Phillips. “However, most of us didn’t know there was a highly more effective way we should be reading.”

Each adult who registers for this online session will receive the book, Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho, in addition to other “critical materials to explore and follow along with the presenter.” The Fundamental Learning Center has made this session accessible on their website to reach more parents and educators. “Our desire is to share a powerfully structured and fun way to read aloud to young children,” said Phillips.

The session will be available for registration by the end of March on Fundamental Learning Center's website.

For More Kansas Literacy Festival Programs:

Kansas Literacy Festival activities are happening from January to September of 2021, with the help of our Digital Partners all across Kansas. Visit for more information on other literacy projects happening across the state.

The Fundamental Learning Center

The Fundamental Learning Center is a non-profit literacy organization inspired by the co-founders each having a child with severe dyslexia. To help children who have dyslexia or struggle with reading, the organization offers literacy programs, workshops, and courses. In addition, they have low-cost literacy assessments for children from ages 5-18, as well as a teaching laboratory school for 60 children with dyslexia.

The Fundamental Learning Center also works with parents and educators, offering monthly lectures, online training, and in-service opportunities. To raise awareness of dyslexia, the organization hosts an annual research conference and travels the state of Kansas to provide a simulation of dyslexia.

Contact Information:

2220 E. 21st North

Wichita, KS 67214

316-684-READ (7323)

You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

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