Raising A Reader is an evidence-based early literacy and parent engagement program that has demonstrated that it can improve the emergent reading skills of children aged birth to five. The program, offered in select childcare settings throughout the county, promotes daily book sharing between parents and their young children. With nearly half of all U.S. children entering kindergarten lacking the early reading skills needed for success in school, Raising A Reader has set a long‐term goal of reaching one million children and families. Currently, it serves 110,000 children through its 2,500 affiliates across the country. In 2010-2011, 352 parents of preschool age children in Onslow County participated in literacy activities hosted by Raising a Reader.
Participating families receive a bright red bag each week filled with award winning books. Through a rotation system, each participating child is exposed to approximately 100 books per year. Parents and caregivers receive guidance on using interactive “read-aloud” techniques that stimulate early brain development and language acquisition. The training helps parents and caregivers, even those with limited English proficiency or low literacy levels, learn how to engage with their children by sharing in a book together. Through the program, families are also connected to their local public library. In the spring, participating children receive a blue library bag to keep and continue the practice of borrowing books and “book cuddling” with their parents.
“An increasingly diverse population has drastically augmented the number of students who have difficulty reading, affecting young and older students alike. Studies have shown that as many as 6 million middle and high school students can’t read at acceptable levels, and only 51 percent of college-bound students were prepared for college-level reading,” said Lisa Davis, Early Learning Specialist for the Onslow County Partnership for Children.
Since its founding in 1999, Raising A Reader has reached more than 700,000 children through its affiliations with local organizations such as United Way, Head Start, public libraries, home visiting programs and early learning programs.
For more information on Raising a Reader, please contact Lisa Davis at the Onslow County Partnership for Children at firstname.lastname@example.org.