Driving kids to read one book at a time at the Avon library | VailDaily.com

Driving kids to read one book at a time at the Avon library

Dominique Taylor | dtaylor@vaildaily.com
Dominique Taylor |

Colorado Literacy book drive

The Colorado Literacy project is collecting children’s books at these local locations:

Eide Bailly in Edwards, the Vail Public Library, all Alpine Bank and 1st Banks, the Interfaith Chapel in Edwards, the Vail Valley Partnership office in Avon, Colorado Mt College, Colorado West in Eagle and Vail, St Mary’s Church in Eagle, Eagle County Health and Human Services office and County Offices in Eagle, Eagle Valley Middle School, the Youth Foundation and Vail Valley Foundation offices in Avon, Eagle Family Dentistry in Eagle, Vail Associates offices in Avon, Streamside Dental in Edwards and the Cos Bar in Vail.

AVON — Let the record show that when Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, a doctor of jurisprudence from Harvard, was done reading to preschoolers Friday, he sat among the kids laughing and making animal noises from the book they’d just read.

“Duck On a Bike” never sounded so good.

Garcia was at the Avon Public Library for the last stop on his two-week tour for Colorado Literacy Week. Early childhood literacy is his passion, he said.

His staffers cringe when he gets wound up about education and starts talking about helping students “from uterus to university.” They’d much prefer he say “childhood to college.”

Closer to uterus, the Colorado Literacy Week tour has been in 10 cities for two or three appearances in each town. At each one they gave away “Duck on a Bike,” David Shannon’s adorable children’s book.

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The good folks raised enough money to buy and give away 70,000 of Shannon’s books. Not one dime of taxpayer money was spent and the public chose the book, Garcia said.

It’s called “One Book 4 Colorado,” and the idea is to get books into the hands of as many kids as possible.

Why it’s important

Third-graders who don’t read proficiently are four times more likely to drop out or flunk out of high school, studies say.

One in six children who do not read proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than for proficient readers, according the report “Double Jeopardy: How Poverty and Third-Grade Reading Skills Influence High School Graduation” commissioned by the Annie E. Casey Foundation .

Once children fall behind in school, they tend to keep falling further and further behind until they drop out of school, the study found.

Garcia said 26 percent of Colorado kids are not proficient readers when they leave third grade.

The study followed 3,975 students born between 1979 and 1989. The highest numbers of drop-outs were highest among those who didn’t read well in third grade and those who had lived in poverty. Black and Hispanic students were disproportionately represented in both categories, the study found. They were twice as likely as white children not to graduate on time.

Garcia said 26 percent of Colorado kids are not proficient readers when they leave third grade. Statewide standardized test results bear him out.

“For low income kids and kids who speak a language other than English at home, it’s 60 percent,” Garcia said. “We can’t just say to schools, ‘Fix this.’”

Nothing less than the state’s future is at stake, Garcia said.

“If we want a strong economy we have to find a way to get through school and on to college,” Garcia said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935, and rwyrick@vaildaily.com

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