Read Notebooks is a simple idea launched to address a major need.
Over the past year, I had the chance to work on several projects related to education and early childhood development. On one hand, I kept hearing about the incredible importance of reading to children from early on to advance their cognitive development. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that parents read aloud to children from birth – a critical activity to advance brain development in the first three years of a child’s life.
At the same time, I learned about how too few children and families in low-income communities had access to books. Families lack books at home, with as many as 60% of low-income households not having a single book to read to their children. Public libraries are cutting back on their hours or closing their doors, and schools serving these populations lack resources as well. In low-income communities, 80% of education programs serving youth have no books at all for the children they serve. In those neighborhoods, there can be as little as one age-appropriate book for every 300 children.
As a result, children head to school without the proper foundation to flourish. By the age of four, children from low-income communities have heard 30 million fewer words compared to their peers in middle and upper class families. This “word gap” impacts their future achievement, both in the early, critical years of school, and throughout their life.
A good book won’t solve all of these problems, but it is certainly not a bad place to start. By working to ensure all children have access to proper, age-appropriate material in their homes, in their schools, and in their communities, we can begin to share the joy of reading from a very early age. Through our work at Read Notebooks, we’ll encourage active reading to children – and literacy at all ages – through contribution, collaboration, and activation.
This is only the beginning of the story, but I hope you’ll continue to be a part of our efforts to open opportunity for all children, one book at a time.
Here are three ways you can help today:
By Aaron Kinnari, Founder, Read Notebooks