Bay Area Literacy Program for Low-Income Students Expands to Contra Costa

December 15, 2013 8:00 am · 21 comments

An early literacy program aimed to close the achievement gap for low-income students is expanding in Contra Costa County.

Starting in January, Raising a Reader San Francisco and Alameda Counties will provide local kindergarten classes and childcare programs with a rotating selection of thousands of books in an effort to boost literacy among low-income children.

Molly Wertz, Raising a Reader S.F. and Alameda Counties executive director, said reading aloud to young children readies children for success in school, yet research shows that a whopping 60 percent of low-income families have no children’s books at home.

“Decades of research show that sharing books at home fosters early brain development and bolsters children’s school readiness kills, excitement about reading, and later success in school,” Wertz said. “The simple act of parents reading aloud to their children can help level the playing field.”

As part of the Raising a Reader program, staff in kindergarten classrooms and childcare centers teach parents about the importance of reading daily to their children, Wertz said.

This same model will be used throughout Contra Costa County thanks to a $225,000 investment from First 5 Contra Costa and other local donors.

Though the program has already been introduced in Contra Costa County, the new funding will benefit more families and boost training and support to promote at-home reading with limited-income parents, regardless of their own literacy level or home language.

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1 Triple Canopy December 15, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Learn to read, write, and speak English and jobs will not be generally limited to fast food or landscape maintenance.

2 Sheila December 15, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Hopefully these low income families will want to boost their children’s literacy rate.

If 60% of families don’t have children’s book in the home, it makes me wonder. You can get books for kids at the dollar store.

3 Huh? December 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM

There’s already plenty of free kids’ books at the library. We use them all them time.

4 TIFF December 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

many books and many fun/interesting free programs/classes at libraries check it out!

5 Antler December 15, 2013 at 11:13 AM

#3….. True, but so often it it prohibitively difficult for those in poverty to travel to a library.

Having books all ones own is a treasured memory for any child so fortunate. I still have my Mother Goose book, Uncle Remus, Anderson’s Fairy Tales……just for starters…….

What books did some of the rest of you save?

6 Anon December 15, 2013 at 11:30 AM

This issue goes way deeper than just having the books. The parents must be able to read them to the kids and it has nothing to do with nationality.
We as a society need to change the way we teach our kids to read.

7 Dorothy December 15, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Seems like these days too many parents don’t really have time for their kids let alone make time to read them. Makes you wonder why they had them in the first place.

8 Miguel December 15, 2013 at 12:19 PM

I didn’t grow up in a low income household, but I grow up in a low income neighborhood.

How can you read to your kids if you’re sitting around getting high all day?

Even if some of these homes had children’s books, would they take the time to read to the kids?

Put down the pipe, and pick up the books!

9 Bridgett December 15, 2013 at 12:44 PM

My parents are well educated, and I was a “book club member” at the age of 5.

I remember coming home from kindergarten, and getting excited knowing that books came in the mail with my name on it, not my parents.

Teacher a child to read early on is so important. I learned to read at the age of 3.

10 Silva December 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Many children could sure use the help!

11 Amy December 15, 2013 at 3:25 PM

How hard is it to read to your own children anyway?

12 EdiBirsan December 15, 2013 at 5:23 PM

As the Community Service Director of the Rotary Club of Concord-Diablo we have been able to do book giveaways to about 2 elementary schools a year. We combine with some book recyclers and lay out 600 or so books and every kid gets to pick out whatever book they want. The kids love it, the teachers agree it helps foster a love of reading and gets the kids involved.

I am glad that there is some more efforts in this direction for our community.

13 lala December 15, 2013 at 7:38 PM

It is really hard for parents who can’t read English to help their kids read and do their homework. I lived next to a nice Mexican family. The parents couldn’t read. They sent their kids to me to help with their homework. We’ve got to get the parents up to speed on literacy.

14 Steve December 15, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Unfortunately, a lot of low income families don’t think to read to their children because their parents never read to them.

Come on, parents, read to your children. Regardless of income, ethnicity, etc. You won’t regret it.

15 @Triple Canopy, post #1 December 15, 2013 at 11:58 PM

You see, the problem is that most people in this country (including those born here) do not know how to speak English. Case in point, the post by Huh? @ #3. “There’s already plenty of free kids’ books at the library.”

NO!! There ARE plenty of free books! Most people don’t know the differences between singular and plural, and just use there’s whenever they are to lazy to figure it out. I hear and read this all over the media, as well. No wonder we can’t even speak our own language correctly.

16 KJ December 16, 2013 at 4:57 AM

It doesn’t have to be just books, either. My sister and I used to read to each other from the newspaper, the Time and Look magazines, and anything else we could get our hands on. It was the importance and love of reading that our parents instilled in us, mostly by their example — we had reading material all over the house.

17 Angelica December 16, 2013 at 11:37 AM

@Triple Canopy, post #1 (15)

Since you’re being so critical of others, let me point out your grammatical errors.

It should be “difference”, not differences, and “too lazy”, not to lazy.

Parents, please read to your children. Thank you.

18 RAPIDRATE December 16, 2013 at 1:04 PM

This would almost be a non issue if contra Costa county was not being bombarded with poor, low skilled, uneducated, illegal immigrants and all there children. TRUTH

19 Cowellian December 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM

I agree with all the posters that encourage people to read to their children. My folks read to me until I just had to read for myself. I was so proud when I got my very own library card.

We made reading a part of our nighttime rituals when our kids were young. I could probably still quote Hop on Pop and Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now several decades later.

20 Random Task December 16, 2013 at 8:26 PM

again another vote catcher tactic used all the time dems way of the bait and switch using tax payer money for “FUNDING” IN OTHER WORDS …..throw out some books that obviously were donated and they take the rest in their pocket …….low income is on welfare and will be for life more than likely as has been for the 4 decades the dems have run the show in this state they do not need to read or write …..they learn how to fill out the right forms and cash a check …….have been for 40+ years …need anymore proof …….a dem scam to line their pockets with more tax payer money yet as usual the lemmings keep the status quo …maybe because they are afraid of standing up and saying no more …..oooops they do not understand the dems have programmed them to be submissive

21 Pro Fi December 16, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Hate to tell you this, but as these kids progress into college very few of them will read, no matter what their parents’ economic situation was. It is a matter of they don’t like reading. I ask my freshmen this every year, and out of thirty students, maybe 4 will say they enjoy reading.

I agree, this is GREAT for our community. My niece and nephews have been read to since they were infants and the first thing they do is pick a book and bring it over for story time. It really does make a difference.

@ EdiBirsan – maybe you could let the Claycord folks know how we can donate books. We went to Half Priced books and spent a good chunk of change to donate to one of the lower income schools. They were thrilled with the donation.

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