Vail Daily letter: New program helps kids read! |

Vail Daily letter: New program helps kids read!

Colleen Gray
Vail, CO, Colorado

When children begin school behind their peer group, as many do, research shows that more often than not they never catch up. Currently, more than 16,000 Colorado third-grade children are not at grade level.

Raising a Reader is a proactive solution. The program teaches parents how to support children’s learning and the powerful role they have as partners in education – a significant factor in school attendance and, ultimately, success. The most powerful way for parents to engage is actually the simplest: Read with and to your children.

With nearly half of all U.S. children entering kindergarten lacking the early reading skills needed for school success, Raising a Reader provides an evidence-based model that prepares young children for academic accomplishment.

“We have seen increasing excitement within both the children receiving the book bag and their families, especially as parents read at home with their children,” said Kristal Bertonneau, family outreach specialist. “For some families, all it takes is somebody supporting them and reminding them that reading and the quality time spent with children while reading is important.”

This year, The Literacy Project, one of five Colorado affiliates of the national nonprofit, has helped nearly 500 families successfully build and sustain literacy routines in their homes.

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Raising a Reader rotates bright red bags filled with award-winning books into children’s homes on a weekly basis, exposing children on average to over 100 books per rotation cycle.

Raising a Reader pairs this book rotation with parent training and information on how to effectively share books to promote family literacy habits, language and literacy skills and a love of learning.

Families are also connected with our local libraries, and children receive a blue book bag at the end of the program to keep so that they can continue the practice of borrowing books and build a lifelong habit of reading.

Raising a Reader is an evidence-based program that can be adapted to meet the diverse needs of communities and families. Raising a Reader is cost efficient and serves children from birth through kindergarten and is currently being adapted to serve children through age 8.

You can help Raising a Reader continue to bring the habit of book sharing to families, ensuring a lifelong love of reading. Consider a tax deductible gift of $35. Call us to donate at 970-949-5026.

Colleen Gray

Executive Director, The Literacy Project

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