ATLANTA, (CBS46) – The toddlers at Premier Academy are excited whenever Parker Singletary walks into their classroom. He makes story time fun – there’s singing and dancing. But it’s more than entertainment.

It's their increasing vocabulary one story at a time.

Cindra Taylor, the academy’s executive director, says teachers at her school read to kids as young as six weeks old, a critical time for kids to develop new words and sounds.

“There's a lot of research around children that come from low income families that the number of words they hear over a period of time compared to affluent peers -- that they really don't have the adequate literacy. that they don't have vocabulary,” she said.

Early is critical for a child's success but with kids tethered to cell phones, competing for their attention is a challenge. Access to books create even bigger hurdles for low-income households.

“We know that as much as we can put in them at this point in time that it's going to lead to success for them later in their lives,” she said.

Which is why the school has an ongoing partnership with the Children's Museum of Atlanta through its Connected Learning Connected Communities program.

The program readers like Singletary each month to boost their love of books, especially in communities that need the resources.

On this particular story time, Singletary shares “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst about how love connects people no matter where they are. Singletary follows it up with an activity where kids make their own heart strings.

“There's something special about kids whenever they get into what you're teaching. You can see it in their eyes,” Singletary said.

The museum tailors programs based on a school's needs with an emphasis on parent-child relationships that improves a child's development.

“If we make it more fun they'll want to share that experience with their parents and hopefully those conversations push more and more and they'll learn even more vocabulary,” he said.

The Connected Learning program has been serving kids in Metro Atlanta for the last 12 years, and is in more than 20 schools in underserved neighborhoods including Old Fourth Ward and Vine City.


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