Sail Off And Read - SOAR

Sail Off and Read Ship Logo

SOAR is an early literacy project of the Polson School District designed to encourage parents of newborns to start reading to their babies from the moment they are born.

Every mother who gives birth at St. Joseph’s Hospital will receive a book bag filled with gently-used picture books, information on the benefits of early literacy, a new nursery rhyme book and an informational DVD.

This project is sponsored by the Polson School District, the Delta Kappa Gamma society, local Rotary and Kiwanis organizations, St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Montana Children’s Trust Fund and the George W. Tabor Foundation.

Babies are Born Learners What You Can Do
  • At just 3 months, infants begin to learn how to “read” facial expressions.

  • When parents talk and coo to their babies, they are helping their child develop language skills which is the basis for learning to reading.

  • When your baby is about 6 months old, the number of connections between the neurons in the brain increases at an incredible rate, from about 2,500 per neuron to as many as 15,000 per neuron.

  • At 18 months your baby will be able to learn a new word every two hours.

  • Your 2-year-old's brain contains twice as many synapses and consumes twice as much energy as an adult brain.

  • There are "learning windows" for some skills. Your children will effortlessly soak up their primary language by age 5 or 6; after that point, they will have to memorize and remember rules for forming sentences.

  • Children who are read to develop a better understanding of language, and vocabulary. They also become familiar with the reading process. (left to right, top to bottom, front to back, right side up, etc.)

  • Regularly spending 20 fun minutes a day in reading, explaining, joking, and questioning physically alters the way a child's brain is wired. These effects are permanent.

  • Reading aloud is the single most important thing a parent can do to help their child learn to read. Children who are read to from birth are more successful at learning to read

(from Building the Reading Brain by Patricia Wolfe and Pamela Nevills)




  • Talk to your baby.

  • Sing to your baby.

  • Hold your baby while you read stories.

  • Touch and stroke your baby.

  • Smile.

  • Provide visual stimulation like bright pictures and mobiles.


  • Talk in complete sentences.

  • Name objects.

  • Think of different ways to say things, for example instead of pretty, say, magnificent,
    gorgeous, or delightful.

  • Teach him nursery rhymes.

  • Read picture books.


  • Go to the library.

  • Run your finger under words as you read to your child.

  • Ask questions about the book.

  • Let your child see and write her name often.

Community Support

Many thanks to the many people who donate books for this project as well as
Polson Rotary and Kiwanis organizations, Delta Kappa Gamma, St. Joseph's Hospital, the Public Health Nurses, Montana Children's Trust Fund and the George W. Taber Foundation.

Health and Nutrition

WIC- Women, Infant, and Children~ 883-4605
Polson Health Department ~ 883-7288
Tribal Health ~ 883-5541

Family Resources

Polson Developmental Preschool ~ 883-6333 ext 503
A preschool program run by the Polson School District for children ages 3-5 years old that qualify for special education.

Child Development Center ~ 883-2636
CDC provides services to families whose children have a diagnosed developmental disability or are considered to be “at risk” for delays in development.

Child Find- Polson School District ~ 883-6333 ext 503
Free Hearing, vision and learning disabilities screening for children and infants aged 0-5 years. All children in the area are invited to participate.

Little Cherries/ Lindy Learners~ 883-1173
Polson School District offers a free preschool program for 3 and 4 year-olds and their parents. Classes are held at Cherry Valley.


Polson City Library ~ 883-8225 , Mother Goose Time - ages 1 - 3, Children’s Story Time - ages 3 - 5