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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.


By the time many children arrive at school, they have already been left behind. Children in low-income families typically enter kindergarten 12 to 14 months behind the national average in pre-reading and language skills, and are likely to remain so as they move through school. Early gaps in school readiness in kindergarten are mirrored in third grade test results. Third grade is a critical turning point in education, and children who are behind in reading skills in third grade most often remain behind throughout their school career.

These realities have lifelong implications for our children. However, thirty years of research shows the strong correlation between parental involvement and increased academic achievement. In fact, a home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than the family’s income, education level, or cultural background. Sharing books at home regularly has been proven to bolster children’s school readiness skills and excitement about reading, leading to long term success in school.

Raising A Reader provides materials and support for children, their families and educators so that this fun and effective practice becomes a daily habit.  Each week, children bring home a bright red bag filled with wonderful children’s books and ask their parents to read with them. This simple routine of engaging families in the joyful practice of daily book-sharing fosters early brain development, builds early literacy skills,  strengthens social and emotional development, and ensures that children enter school ready to learn. Ongoing parent training, family literacy events, and educator workshops and in–classroom support ensure that adults and children alike continue to experience success with book sharing.

Learn more about Raising A Reader Bay Area’s history.