The mission of Raising A Reader, San Francisco, Alameda & Contra Costa Counties is to build early literacy through family engagement. Our programs support families to read with their young children from birth by providing access to high quality children’s books, training for parents, and support for early childhood educators. Twenty-five years of research has shown that engaging families in daily book-sharing fosters early brain development, builds early literacy skills, strengthens social and emotional development, and lays the groundwork for a child’s academic success.
Working with early childhood educators, Raising A Reader San Francisco, Alameda & Contra Costa Counties rotates a set of bright red bags filled with culturally and linguistically relevant children's books into the homes of families in low-income neighborhoods. We also provide classroom-based support for educators, training for parents and educators, and hold family literacy events to support and encourage adults and children in developing a daily book-sharing routine.
Results: Raising A Reader currently benefits 17,000 children and their families through more than 850 sites with more than 56,000 books in rotation. The books themselves are just the beginning - a way for children and families to develop early literacy skills, forge strong family bonds, and explore the world around them. RAR believes that, in order to get the maximum benefit from each book shared, every adult who has regular, meaningful interaction with a child should have access to the same tools as a well-trained educator. To that end, we provide the adults who care for these children with resources, guidance, and meaningful support to overcome common barriers such as low adult literacy levels and home language. As an evidence-based early literacy intervention, RAR does much more than just give families books: we provide comprehensive programming that supports families and educators so that each child can reach their full potential.