The Camden Campaign for Children’s Literacy
A Project of the Rutgers University Center for Children and Childhood Studies
Project Director and Principal Investigator: Myra Bluebond-Langner Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of
Anthropology and Director of the Center for Children and Childhood Studies
Senior Program Director, Service and Outreach: Angela Connor-Morris, L.C.S.W./M.P.A.
Purpose of the Project
The Camden Campaign for Children’s Literacy is designed to meet the needs of Camden’s children and
families in the area of literacy and early language development. The Campaign recognizes that the first 1,000
days of a child’s life are critical if language development is to be successful. The Center in cooperation with
the Camden community works to address this challenge through six comprehensive initiatives. The
following problems have been identified by the Center for Children and Childhood Studies in cooperation
with key community stakeholders:
96% of students in Camden are categorized as at risk or disadvantaged.
80% of the children in Camden live in poverty.
Stakeholders involved in children’s literacy often have little knowledge of each other or the programs
that they represent and as a result have not collaborated to maximize resources.
Caregivers that do recognize the importance of reading to their children as well as improving their own
literacy skills have not had a clear framework available to guide them.
Low availability of literacy programming in the city of Camden.
High percentage of parents, caregivers and direct care staff with low literacy rates.
Limited resources available to the Camden City Library for additional programs and outreach.
The Camden Campaign for Children’s Literacy addresses these issues by providing collaborative,
community-driven, child-focused programs that synthesize and extend literacy and educational resources on
behalf of Camden’s children.
The Camden Campaign for Children’s Literacy has been implemented through six key initiatives:
A Blueprint for Children’s Literacy in Camden solidifies the stakeholders in children’s literacy issues
in Camden and continues to develop better methods of collaboration, enhancement and effective
utilization of community resources.
Prescription for Reading Program works with Camden health care providers to expand their literacy
efforts for children by: placing volunteer readers in clinic waiting rooms, encouraging and training
physicians, nurses and other clinical staff to discuss the importance of reading to children, and giving
children a brand new, age-appropriate book to take home after each visit.
Parental Literacy Program trains physicians and other clinicians to identify parents literacy needs,
approach them in a sensitive manner, and then refer those interested in literacy training to our
community partner Literacy Volunteers of America.
Camden Library Outreach Initiative involves key stakeholders in the development and
implementation of programs that inspire interest in reading and use of the library for both practical and
Child Care Literacy Training Program provides Camden child care professionals with 120 hours of
classroom instruction so that they may obtain their Child Development Associate Certification. The
program also provides participants with weekly mentoring and ongoing technical assistance to assist with
the certification process. RU-CCCS has developed a key partnership with the New Jersey Professional
Development Center by opening a satellite office onsite in January of 2004. Through this partnership
scholarship service and Camden city childcare center accreditation will be a key focus.
Abbott Preschool Outreach and Registration Initiative involves key stakeholders in the development
of effective methods of recruitment, registration and enrollment for Camden’s three and four year old
children into free preschool programs as part of the Abbott mandate.
Accomplishments Since Inception September 1st 2000
Brought together over fifty key stakeholders in the area of children’s literacy to assist in the development
of the six key initiatives of the Camden Campaign for Children’s Literacy.
Implemented a new pilot program at Our Lady of Lourdes’ Osborn Clinic’s Prescription to Read site.
Students from Charles Brimm in Camden read to children in the waiting room and receive scholarship
The official Camden Campaign for Children’s Literacy kick-off took place on September 15th, 2001 on
the Rutgers-Camden campus. 412 families participated and over 1,800 books were distributed to Camden
During the period of September 2001 to May 2003, CCCL has offered 36 separate learning style
workshop themes for Camden City childcare staff and distributed 16,691 books.
The Library Outreach Initiative has offered 48 programs at the Camden Free City Library from
September 2001 to June 2003 and distributed a total of 3,321 books.
The Prescription to Read Initiative distributed 6,322 books to Camden children as part of well visits in
cooperation with seven Camden health care sites over the past two years.
The Abbott Preschool Outreach and Registration Initiative produced a new information brochure and a
public service announcement (PSA) for both radio and television over the summer of 2002. These
brochures and PSA’s are a crucial part of the Abbott enrollment effort.
The Childcare Training Program, Phase II, offers a pioneering Child Development Associate
Certification program that enrolled 227 Camden childcare professionals in September of 2003. As part of
the program, participants can complete either a Pre-K or Infant/Toddler CDA, receive weekly mentoring
and are provided with ongoing technical assistance.
The New Jersey Professional Development Center at Kean University will establish their first ever
satellite office onsite at RU-CCCS January 2004.
The Center for Children and Childhood Studies gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the John S.
and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Verizon Foundation, the
William Penn Foundation, the Schumann Fund for New Jersey and the Kurr Family Foundation.