Welcome to SEEDS!
Standards-based Educational Experiences Delivery System
SEEDS at a Glance
SEEDS (Standards-based Educational Experiences Delivery System), with a structured reading focus, is a volunteer program designed to increase the number of critical oral language and literacy skills young children experience. This is done by having SEEDS volunteers work with small groups of children for twenty minutes twice a week using a wide variety of books over an extended period of time. Each SEEDS session includes reading a children's book aloud and asking open-ended questions related to the content of the book. These experiences support and expand the skills children learn in the classroom under the leadership of the teacher.
Volunteers are encouraged to have several back-and-forth conversations with each child. Interactions with the volunteers and with the materials and activities give children additional face-to-face time with an adult, enabling them to participate and learn in a more personal way.
The SEEDS curriculum kit includes 29 weekly self-contained packets. Each packet contains a children's book, activities related to the children's book, and materials needed to implement each activity. SEEDs activities specifically address the language, vocabulary, and mathematics skills children need to become successful learners.
- Use SEEDS packets to plan and implement literacy-related activities
- Read the book aloud and ask questions about the book
- Engage children in conversations using the activity cards and materials
SEEDS three-hour training is designed to support volunteers as they implement the SEEDS program. Volunteers learn to use strategies designed to increase children's literacy and language experiences through interactive read-alouds, small-group strategies, and in-depth volunteer-child and child-child interactions.
- Identifying children to participate in the SEEDS program
- Setting up an implementation area with appropriate size table and chairs for adults and children
- Preparation and planning for weekly SEEDS implementation for each session by reviewing the children's book, reviewing the read-aloud questions, and reviewing the materials needed to implement Session 1 or Session 2 cards
- Practice using self-contained SEEDS packets to organize and implement activities including reading the book aloud, introducing vocabulary words using children-friendly definitions, and asking open-ended and connection questions
- Encouraging verbal exchanges and interactions during the activity times; conducting a back-and-forth conversation and prompting children to clarify or expand their responses
- Interacting with children in a positive way
- When, how, and what to communicate with the teacher
Interactions with the volunteers and with the SEEDS reading materials and activities give children additional face-to-face time with an adult, enabling them to participate and learn in a more personal way.
- Many children living in low-income neighborhoods enter kindergarten with a significant learning gap as compared to their more affluent peers. This gap in learning is typically linked to an opportunity gap.
- Regularly reading to children in small groups with guided questions and opportunities to discuss what they are reading is a way to increase children's learning time and provides a way to lessen the "opportunity gap" by strengthening both their language and vocabulary skills.
- Regular read-aloud sessions using a wide variety of books over an extended period of time helps to overcome the word gap - the massive differences in heard vocabulary during the first five years of life.
- Children who receive additional one-on-one interactions with caring adults demonstrate more significant improvement in their language and literacy skills and their social development.
SEEDS was implemented as part of a study of the Early Literacy and Language Model (ELLM) in a county in southwest Florida. The ELLM/SEEDS program was effective in improving the emergent literacy ability and language development of three- and four-year-old children based on norm-referenced early literacy assessment scores. All gains in the measured abilities were statistically significant, and all effect sizes were large enough to attribute the children's gains to their participation in the ELLM/SEEDS program. SEEDS has also been implemented in Duval, Alachua, and Flagler as part of United Way's multi-county effort to strengthen the literacy skills of young children.