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Jax Daily Record Friday, May 7, 201012:00 PM EST

Nemours BrightStart expanding to Delaware


from staff

The Nemours BrightStart Dyslexia Initiative, which began in Jacksonville five years ago, will expand to Delaware through a commitment from a fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.

The Arsht-Cannon Fund at the foundation announced a three-year gift totaling $300,000 for the Nemours Partnership for Children’s Health to bring the dyslexia initiative to Delaware’s children.

Nemours BrightStart provides programs, products and services to help parents, schools and communities prepare young children for reading success, with a special focus on struggling, at-risk young learners.

Dyslexia, the most common learning disability, is characterized by marked difficulty with reading and spelling.

Nemours BrightStart focuses on 4- and 5-year-olds in pre-kindergarten. It began in Jacksonville in 2005 and has screened more than 11,300 children for early literacy skills in Duval County and in Orlando and Osceola and Gulf counties.

In 2008, mobile classrooms were introduced in Florida to reach children in areas of need outside of Duval County.

Nemours reports that two-thirds of at-risk children who receive Nemours BrightStart intervention move into the normal range after scoring well below average during pre-intervention screenings.

Nemours reports that Pre-K students who participate in Nemours BrightStart gain an average of 128 percent on their reading readiness scores upon completion of the program. Evidence has shown that reading level is the strongest predictor of adult health status.

“Helping children early on, before they even start school, who might otherwise struggle with reading their whole lives, that was exciting. I wanted to help the program grow,” says Adrienne Arsht, adviser to the Arsht-Cannon Fund.¬†

The Nemours pediatric health system offers clinical treatment, research, advocacy and educational health and prevention services to all families in the communities it serves.

Starting with Alfred I. duPont’s bequest more than 70 years ago, Nemours has grown into a multidimensional organization offering personalized clinical and preventive care focused on children.

Nemours owns and operates the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., and children’s specialty clinics in Jacksonville, Orlando and Pensacola as well as in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.¬†Nemours will establish a new full-service children’s hospital in Orlando in 2012.¬†

Nemours employs more than 4,100 people, including 430 pediatric physicians, specialists and surgeons who treated almost a quarter of a million children in 2008.

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