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Oral Health Initiative - Little Man Loses His Tooth

This outreach program draws from the collaborative efforts and expertise of dentists, dental hygienists, teachers, and school administrators to fully respond to the national call for local action.  Aiming to improve the oral health of children in grades 2 and 4, the program included the following goals and objectives:

Goal: Increase the oral health awareness and improve the oral hygiene practices of inner-city elementary school students.

Objective 1: Deliver literacy-based, hands-on oral health education program to 1,800 students in grades 2 and 4 in three Connecticut Cities.

Objective 2: Demonstrate student learning of oral health principles and practices by over 80% of the students involved through administration of student assessments before and after the program.

Objective 3: Engage at least half of the students’ families through provision of engaging take-home, read-aloud books and other educational materials.

The book used in the program, Little Man Loses His Tooth, was funded and distributed by Connecticut Health Foundation. Knowing that tooth decay is five times more common than asthma and is one of the most preventable childhood diseases in the nation, the Foundation is committed to improving the oral health of children insured under the state’s Medicaid program or HUSKY through a variety of strategies including convening stakeholders, funding coordinated community initiatives, and commissioning health policy research and analysis.

Literacy Man Series

Children in America's urban areas, New Haven in particular, do not have enough early reading materials that speak directly to their experience in a multi-racial, urban culture. Books about kids like themselves who experience the excitement, challenges, and rewards of living in a dense, varied, and fast-paced environment are few and far between. Very few reading materials are about latchkey kids and children of single mothers. Very few books for young readers provide lessons in conflict resolution which would help them in dealing with parents and siblings, or highlight specific places and experiences of pride within their community. 

With over-crowded classrooms, the burdens of standardized test preparation, and the alarming rate of disciplinary problems, teachers cannot give students the one-on-one attention needed to develop proficient reading and writing skills. In response to this need, The Little Man Series was created. The mission of the Little Man Literacy Series is to assist in the educational process by helping urban students to work through their literacy issues and to further develop their writing skills. 

The project has been expanded into an intensive twenty-four week reading and writing program that utilizes the series of "Little Man" stories about an young man's urban journey. "Little Man" stories inspire the student-participants to write about their own journeys. "Little Man" is culturally sensitive to the very specific needs and experiences of the children they are designed to help.

URU consultants and volunteers guided students through the editing phase and compiled students’ work into books for each child.

URU, The Right To Be, Inc., is a public, non-member, charitable 501(c)3 organization.