By third Grade, 39% of all third graders do not read proficiently and this number jumps to 60% for low income children. Children who are not reading proficiently by 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to leave school without a diploma.
Think about those facts for a moment.
I know when I first heard them I was shocked. Sure, I knew reading skills were vital, but I hadn’t seen the numbers so clearly showing how critical it is to get all kids reading at such an early age.
Raising A Reader MA offers an evidence-based early literacy program that helps families of young children (ages 0-5) develop, practice, and maintain habits of reading together at home. Why? Research shows that the single most significant factor influencing a child’s lifelong achievement is being regularly read to by their parents and adult caregivers before starting kindergarten.
Reading in our house was and continues to be a common occurance. We read to our kids as soon as they were born and to this day they read before going to bed at night. But, we had access to books. We had the money to buy them. Many families don’t have this luxury.
I learned about this organization and the great work they do when they invited to be one of the authors at their annual Dinner With an Author fundraiser. I’m happy to report that $90,000 was raised that night!
Talking to the chairman of the board as well as many of the staff I learned that their core program involves two key components:
- Their Red Bag Book Rotation program has bright red bags filled with high quality, culturally appropriate children’s books rotate through families’ homes. Over the course of the year, each child gets exposed to dozens of titles to share with their families.
- Family workshops and training where parents are given the strategies they need to share books effectively with their young children. This is done through a combination of training, workshops and DVD lessons.
Can you imagine not having books in your lives? I certainly can’t and I want to make sure that the next generations has as much access as possible to them.
This may be a Massachusettes focused charity but there are others like them in many other states and if yours doesn’t have one perhaps it is time to start it.
I hope you’ll take the time to learn more about this organization and the work you are doing. If you are a parent, make sure you read to your child tonight!
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