Chelsea Clinton visits Chicago laundromat to unveil reading space

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chelsea Clinton visited a Northwest Side laundromat Wednesday morning to unveil a learning space that aims to encourage early childhood development.

"This is one of the first, but we hope to be in hundreds if not thousands of laundromats over the next few years," said Clinton, who also read a book to children.

The Family Read & Play Space will be a permanent fixture at the Wash Time laundromat as part of a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and the Laundry Literacy Coalition.

The foundation's Too Small to Fail program is working with the Chicago Public Library to maintain weekly story time programming at the laundromat. They currently visit twice a week.

The Laundry Literacy Coalition is a national alliance between the Clinton Foundation's Too Small to Fail program, the LaundryCares Foundation and Libraries Without Borders.

Since 2015, the organizations have sought to bring early literacy resources and outreach programs directly into local self-service laundromats to meet families where they are and support young children's early brain and language development.

The spaces promote activities like talking, reading, singing, writing, and playing among young children and their parents/caregivers. These spaces include a sofa, bookshelf filled with high-quality children's books, puppets, crayons, in-store signage for parents, an alphabet rug, blocks, magnetic letters, and family tip sheets.

"What began as distributing tip sheets and suggestions for families across 5,000 laundromats then became laundry and literacy days. We had more than 60 of those across the country where laundromats open their laundry facilities for structured reading and other literacy activities for kids and families," Clinton said.
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