Literacy Programs for Children

by Raising A Reader
Happy child from California.
Happy child from California.

Thank you for warming our hearts this winter with your generosity!  While the winter months can be long and cold, we believe the best way to warm your heart is to curl up with a child to share a story.

Beyond simply creating shared reading habits, Raising A Reader has the ability to transform lives.

How do we transform lives? With your support Raising A Reader will continue to promote family engagement, foster brain development, affect early language and literacy development, and create a lifelong love of reading.

Raising A Reader strengthens the parent-child bond through developing and maintaining the habit of reading together. Our parent education  provides families with the skills and confidence they need to create a literacy rich environment regardless of their first language or personal literacy levels.

The critical years of brain development occur in the earliest years of a child’s life. Raising A Reader fosters healthy brain development through the bonding experience of sharing a book, as well as through active listening and discussing a story.

From the field, here are a few quotes about how these lives are transformed:

“Many of our family coaches report being greeted at their home visits by children who are holding their RAR bag knowing that when their coach visits they get a new bag.   With a large population in our community of families whose first language is not English the books are helping the parents as well.  One mom said that while the books are good for her kids she has used them as a chance to learn new English vocabulary”. –Educator, Calhoun County, MI

"We really enjoyed the program and did so much more reading because of it. Opening the new red bag each week was like opening a present. Thank you!!" –Parent, Yavapai County, AZ

Thank you for your ongoing generosity and all you do to support children and families across the country. We can’t wait to see what the spring has in store!

Boy and mom
Boy and mom

Over the last two months, parents have been introduced to Raising A Reader and children will get excited to take home a little red bag full of books each week. With your support, over 1000 children and their families are participating in Raising A Reader this school year.  This includes adding new classrooms and introducing the new STEM and Special Needs books to children and families.

Below is a story about a little boy named J.

J went to from Jump Start University Child Care, a small daycare in one of the most poverty stricken areas in North Carolina.

Fall 2014:

J is reading!! The Raising A Reader Coordinator didn’t believe the teacher at first but she told J to get the “Cat In The Hat” book and read it.  He sat down on the cushion beside the teacher and started reading. The teacher thought he memorized the book. The teacher asked him to pick any book from the book shelf and read.  He then picked up “Hooray for Fish”, by Lucy Cousins. He read it! Then he picked up Dr. Seuss’s “Fox in Socks” (he likes Dr. Seuss books) and started reading.  When asked if Raising A Reader had anything to do with his reading success, the teacher said that it was definitely a major part of the success story because of constant flow of books going into the home. 

Fall 2015:

J entered kindergarten in August 2014.  He was tested along with the other children in his kindergarten class and he is reading at a third grade level. J also was accelerated up to the first grade.  The teachers in the class were amazed at his accomplishments and applauded his teachers and the Raising A Reader program. They were astounded by his vocabulary and comprehension skills which tested very high for a five year old. The parents stated that Raising A Reader was a wonderful program that put quality books into their home every week. They said that the teachers gave techniques on reading with J and ideas on what books to select when they take their son to the library. J’s mom, who is taking college classes, was so thankful for the Raising A Reader program because it gave them books at home when it was extremely hard for her to get out and go to the library.  

Raising A Reader continuously hears stories about families in the program and we love sharing them with you! Your continued support helps Raising A Reader families across the country develop, practice and maintain early learning skills crucial to future success. 

Thank you for changing the lives of children and families in need.

Yours in book sharing,
The Raising A Reader Team

Boy with his books
Boy with his books


As families head back to school over the next month, parents will be trained on the importance of early literacy and children will get excited to take home a little red bag full of books each week.

With your support, over 1000 children and their families will participate in Raising A Reader this school year! Over the past year, Raising A Reader has built new collections including Exceptional Diversity and STEM, and has continuously seen statistically significant increases in the amount of time spent reading together and the amount of books read between adult and child in parent surveys. 

In New York, Head Start parents are raving about the program:

“The program is great. We read the books and then we discuss the stories together. We also love the fact they are bilingual.”  

“I really like the red bags and the books, we read every afternoon and since having the bags we read more often. We love having a variety of books.”

“I like the program and the books, my son knows his colors and he interprets the story on his own and tells me.”

Your continued support helps Raising A Reader families across the country develop, practice and maintain early learning skills crucial to future success. 

You truly are changing the lives of children and families in need.

Yours in book sharing,
The Raising A Reader Team


Battle Creek Home Visiting Program
Battle Creek Home Visiting Program

This story from a Raising A Reader program in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Battle Creek is now home to a large number of Burmese families who have moved to the area over the last few years as refugees. The community of Battle Creek wanted to make the new families in their community feel welcomed in the programs and services being received. When thinking about Raising A Reader, that meant bilingual books.

Some Battle Creek families are participating in Raising A Reader through a home visiting program. Family Coaches make weekly visits to families and provide the red bag filled with books. With the help of the National Office of Raising A Reader, the Family Coach can provide four books published in both English and Burmese in addition to the other books in the collection. The need is so high that Battle Creek translated an additional nine titles by adding Burmese text to the books on clear labels adhered to each page next to the English text.  When parents first saw books in their native language, some cried. Seeing children's book in Burmese made them feel like they belonged. From the success locally, the Burmese collection is now available nationwide for other affiliate RAR programs to use.

Your support helps Raising A Reader children and their families in Battle Creek and in 33 other states develop, practice and maintain early learning skills crucial to future success. 

Thank you for all that you do to support child literacy through Raising A Reader!

You truly are changing the lives of children and families in need.

Yours in book sharing
The Raising A Reader Team


Graduating from RAR with their very own book bags
Graduating from RAR with their very own book bags

As Raising A Reader embarks on 2015 the profound impact of donors on our work is more clear than ever before.

Our latest STEM fundraiser (currently half way to goal!) is just one perfect example of the power of donors to generate real change.

Spotlight on Monterey County, California
Another fantastic example is in Monterey County California, where a generous private donation helped launch Raising A Reader in local communities five years ago. Focusing on cities with low incomes and high literacy need Raising A Reader has grown each year since its inception in Monterey County in 2010 thanks to the continued generosity of local grantmakers and community foundations.

As a result of this support, Raising A Reader has reached a total of 6,100 children and families since 2010 in the cities of Salinas, Watsonville, King City and Seaside.

At 100+ books shared per child each year – that’s a lot of books in the hands of children who really need them!

In the photos you can see some of the children who have benefitted from Raising A Reader. These children are graduating from the program with their very own blue book bags to take home with them, filled with books from the Monterey Public Library where they've just signed up as members.

Recognizing the life changing possibilities of families developing home reading habits and the life-long impact of early literacy development on children and their families, visionary donors have been founding and piloting new Raising A Reader programs since the beginning 15 years ago.

As a supporter you are part of this journey!

Thank you as always for your visionary support of children and families whose lives will be changed exponentially thanks to your generosity, through the simple habit of sharing books together. 

Yours in book sharing,
The Raising A Reader Team


Some photos from Monterey County, California:

Dad helps fill out library membership forms
Dad helps fill out library membership forms
Handing in the form is an exciting process!
Handing in the form is an exciting process!
All the day
All the day's graduates celebrating together

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Organization Information

Raising A Reader

Location: Redwood City, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Raquel España
Director, National Strategic Partnerships
Redwood City, California United States

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