Heart of Illinois
United Way

Launched in 2006, Success by 6® is an early childhood education initiative that provides knowledge about opportunities for early learning and pre-literacy skill development.

Success By Six

What is Success By 6®?

Success by 6 is an early childhood education initiative that provides knowledge about opportunities for early learning and pre-literacy skill development.

Launched in 2006, Success by 6® is an early childhood education initiative that provides knowledge about opportunities for early learning and pre-literacy skill development. Success By 6® is led by a community-based team of business leaders, educators and child advocates who strive to guarantee at-risk children age birth to six are healthy, safe, nurtured and ready to succeed.

Why do we need Success By 6® in Central Illinois?

From birth to age six, children's brains develop very rapidly, and early learning is crucial as it lays the groundwork for the future. Early childhood development programs initiate cognitive and character skills, preparing children for success in kindergarten and overall achievement in school.

Because parents are a child's first and most important teachers, future academic success begins at home. By actively participating in their child's early education, parents can increase their child's performance, growth and reading and writing skills.

Who does the program reach?

The Heart of Illinois United Way's Success By 6® initiative reaches at-risk, low-income families in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Stark, Putnam and Marshall counties.

What does the program provide?

Success By 6® advocates and supports early childhood education through the:

  • Be a Page Turner Reading Program
  • Illinois Action for Children Building Blocks Program
  • PNC Grow Up Great
  • Getting Ready for School Family Activities Calendar

Literacy Skills

The Be a Page Turner Reading Program began in 2008 and targets children ages three to six in Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties. With 14 partner agencies, the reading program distributes new books to nearly 3,000 students for 10 months out of the year giving each child in the program the chance to learn to love to read at an early, yet impactful, age. Parents and teachers are engaged in the reading program through family nights held by the partner agencies and early childhood literacy training for teachers at the beginning of each school year. Early learning results for children participating in the Be a Page Turner Reading Program show:

  • 95% of children increased their interest and curiosity about books and asked for more stories read to them
  • 88% of children demonstrated improvement of understanding words and sentence structure when being read a story
  • 85% of children improved reading comprehension which includes identifying characters in the story and asking or predicting what will happen next
  • 72% of children improved their ability to remember a story and retell it to an adult

Math Skills

In 2014, 100 area teachers and more than 1,400 preschool children and their families participated in the Success By 6 math initiatives including professional development classes for teachers and math workshops for parents. Strategies include how to screen students, teaching materials, coaching support for teachers and parents, and practical tips to help young children count, identify numbers, and much more. Funded by the PNC Foundation, Illinois Action for Children-Building Blocks (Grand Victoria Foundation), Skip-a-Long Family and Community Services, and Heart of Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children.

Social-Emotional Skills

Improving social-emotional skills in young children is critical to early learning and future success in school. Success By 6 equips childcare providers with research-proven, developmentally appropriate social and emotional strategies that promote positive behaviors. Funded by Illinois Action for Children — Building Blocks (Grand Victoria Foundation), Skip-a-Long Family and Community Services, and the Heart of Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children.

Getting Ready for School Calendar

Each year, the Heart of Illinois United Way distributes more than 25,000 "Getting Ready for School" calendars. From monthly learning themes to daily activities, the calendar is full of activities, suggested books and a variety of resources. They are available free of charge to preschools, child care centers, social service agencies, schools, libraries, pediatrician offices, and other locations throughout central Illinois.