By: Michelle Torgerson, President and CEO of Raising A Reader
I know first-hand the positive impact a caring adult can make in the life of a child.
When I was little, we didn’t have access to a lot of books or resources. My parents had their own truck repair business, and I went to work with them every single day. My mom would read me stories from the newspaper each morning, and in the afternoons, you could find me in a truck bay with my dad, reading a Kelly Blue Book. The one-on-one time that we spent together helped to shape my life trajectory.
When I got to Kindergarten, I was curious and resilient, and over informed on the market value of used vehicles! And for the first time my family gained access to education enrichment programs which helped my academics soar.
The first eight years of a child’s life are critical for setting them up for lifelong success. Unfortunately, not all children and families have access to a powerful system that helps families thrive and establish effective early learning practices.
Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when the learning is fun. Raising A Reader’s three programs supports building healthy relationships through these everyday experiences by providing the tools and resources for families to develop, practice, and maintain home literacy routines.
Building book sharing routines supports a child’s development, builds special connections that are critical to brain development and helps children develop their sense of belonging and community—especially when they see themselves reflected in the books they are reading. And they are more likely to excel academically, contributing to narrowing the opportunity gap created by systemic racial injustice.
Raising A Reader also strengthens the family and school relationships and increasing family engagement opportunities. Family engagement—in schools, childcare centers and other places and spaces—contributes to positive student outcomes, including improved child achievement, decreased disciplinary issues, improved parent-teacher and teacher-student relationships, and improved school environment.